Chinese cities are expanding fast. And many districts that were once on the periphery are now becoming auxiliary city centers. Take China's largest city, Shanghai as an example. The local government has announced to shut its largest seafood market to make room for a planned new city sub-center.
Lobsters from New Zealand looking very energetic even after a ten-hours plane ride.
The workers had a race against time to repackage them. Even being slow for one minute could mean real loss of money.
It's not only imported seafood like lobsters and salmon, but also Shanghai's local autumn favourites such as hairy crabs. They're all here.
The Tongchuan seafood market was a popular source of fresh seafood for millions of residents in Shanghai, and a wholesale hub for the larger east China market.
But it was shut down for good on October 31st. According to a government plan, it will be razed to the ground, with new office buildings, shopping malls and city parks installed in its stead.
Opened more than 20 years ago, it had been nothing but farm field before then. But seafood wholesalers and retailers started to gather to do business there, and it soon became a business hub.
"This market has provided so many jobs, all kinds of jobs. The market also made the whole region very prosperous," said seafood shop owner.
But illegal constructions, entangled electricity wires and old facilities have brought great dangers. It's a priority of the government to ensure the safety of the daily market operations and, most importantly, food security for its people.
And over the past 20 years, the city's drastic expansion has put this market, once a suburban area, at the very core of a new planned city sub-center.
For the government, it's a tricky balance between growth and the preservation of city legacies.
But for more than 23-hundred shop owners, there are mixed feelings.
"It's very difficult to say goodbye to the place we've worked and lived in for 20 years. I can even bring you to restaurants with my eyes closed. I'm too familiar with this place. It's like home to me," said seafood shop owner.
The government plans to relocate them to six seafood markets across the city, allowing them to continue their trade.
The old Tongchuan market has exempted at least 3 months rent.
But the shop owners say the subsidies won't cover the cost of the move.
"We'll have fewer businesses in the new location. We need to work harder. We can only get some business from our old clients."
"Most shop owners have agreed to move. And my clients say they will follow me to the new place," seafood owners said.
Although messy, noisy and sometimes chaotic, many called the Tongchuan market home. It was where they worked so hard to make a living and support their kids to the universities.
They hope their children can come back to work in office buildings after college, instead of selling fish and seafood.
A city legacy will surely disappear, but its memories will last for a long time.