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Richard Schiff hands me a blue plastic apron with sleeves, a blue hairnet, and a pair of blue disposable shoe covers. When I'm ready, I follow him through the office and onto the factory floor. Out here, the temperature is a little cooler and there are signs on the walls in English, Polish, and Spanish, listing rules about workplace safety. In front of us, a line of about 130 people are queued for a chance...
The line on Gem Street begins to form halfway down the block early Friday mornings with a hodgepodge of neighborhood regulars. On this normally quiet block in Greenpoint, you’re promised to hear at least five different languages as you stand next to an old Polish grandmother with a pushcart and a cool young dad with a stroller. Everyone is here for one very important item: smoked fish. “Have faith,” a happy customer tells the line as...

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