Canal Street shops and street traders
The chaotic home to counterfeit goods and cut price bargains
(Photos/words © urban75, Dec 2007)
Visitors keen to find a piece of untamed New York should check out Canal Street, in lower Manhattan.
A mecca for counterfeit handbags, suspect jewellery, fake Rolex watches, knocked off goods and other dodgy merchandise, there's an element of the old Wild West to be found here.
Canal Street is a major NY thoroughfare, connecting lower Manhattan to New Jersey in the west (via the Holland Tunnel) and Brooklyn in the east (via the Manhattan Bridge).
It's also well served by several subway stations a long its east-west route.
The street takes its name from an old canal that was dug to drain the contaminated Collect Pond into the Hudson River in the early 1800s. After the pond was filled in 1811, the street was built along its angled route.
The famous Pearl Paints art and craft shop - a regular shopping destination for us.
A view of the redevelopment south of Canal Street.
The street almost overflows with fake trademarked electronics, counterfeit clothing, pirated CDs and DVDs and other iffy goods, often sold from hastily assembled stands, suitcases or just slapped on sheets laid in the street.
Moments before this photo was taken, the roadside was lined with guys selling goods from suitcases, but they promptly vanished as the word went out that the cops were in the area.
Naturally, we're not saying that all the stuff for sale on Canal Street comes with a dubious heritage, but if you buy something out of a suitcase from a twitchy bloke, don't be surprised if you find your warranty options a little limited.
I love this shop, "serving your rubber needs at the same location since 1954."
Canal Street is a real bustling commercial hotspot, with official and unofficial vendors trying to tempt you at every turn.
Chatting at the hot dog stall.
Waiting for a sale.
« NYC photos home New York subway scenes »