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Gotham Magazine: Fishing For Compliments

  • November 1, 2004
  • |
  • Posted By Justin @ 12:26 PM

NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Ask Justin Muir-self-proclaimed "almost millionaire" who graduated from Georgetown, sports Marc Jacobs, lives in Gramercy Park, and just happens to run a business called City Aquariums-what the ultimate holiday gift is this season and he will tell you: fish tanks. Yes, fish tanks. "Aquariums have become quite a status symbol," says Muir, who looks like a Dawson's Creek character and speaks with the down-and-dirty know-how if a second-generation fisherman. After all, his company has grown from a one-man show with 500 bucks in the bank in 1998 to today selling the ne plus ultra New York City style-statement. "I prefer to be called an aquarium designer," says the entrepreneur who has a degree in zoology and has spent time studying marine biology at the New York City Aquarium in Coney Island.

Muir lists hedge-fund managers, traders, and corporate big shots as the types who typically enlist his company to create masterpiece habitats for their underwater creatures; fill them with fashionable fish like octopus, shark, and angle fish; and maintain them for thousands of dollars each week. At the end of the day, the cost of his services can range form $35,000 to a couple of million-a big price to pay for slimy little suckers. But as Muir assures, "It's an absolute focal point in interior design today." The cutting edge tanks, complete with livestock, are splashing around Gotham from the Coral Room to Duvet to Vikram Chatwals' Dream Hotel to the Sultan of Oman's private villa. "Personally, I have two Kidako Moray eels," Muir says humbly of the three-foot-long treasures that cost $1,500 each. "They're called Kid and Ako." Not bad for a fish-monger now is it?

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