A Journey Through Chinatown

Canal Street Map

Images copyright Robert K. Chin,

Map #1 Canal Street west (SoHo, Tribeca)
Map #2 Canal Street east (Chinatown, Little Italy, Lower East Side)

Many visitors to my website want information on New York City Canal Street. Apparently its the fake purse and knock-off designer items, and shopping locations people are interested in. So, unfortunately, this is what this page is about. I've highlighted vendor locations in orange on my maps, and included photos.

Note that some of these people are camera-shy because what they are doing, or involved in, may be illegal.

corner of baxter and canal
(click to enlarge)                 robert k. chin
02 Jan 2007 corner of baxter & canal
  shut down by the city
(click to enlarge)                 robert k. chin
27 Feb 2008 shut down by the city.

Photos of storefronts along Canal St.Video of Canal Street Vendors & Hustlers

For the everyday shopper, one will encounter three types of people offering handbags for sale.

The first type are those who sell t-shirts, souvenirs, generic handbags, and cheap perfume from a rented storefront. Merchandise can sometimes be knockoffs. If they are, they usually they don't want to advertise that fact because they can be raided by the city, and shut down.

The second type are the illegal street peddlers hawking knockoff sunglasses, handbags, and dvds out of shabby suitcases on the sidewalk. These guys always run away at the first sign of police as they are breaking several laws all at once (no vending license, blocking traffic on the sidewalk, and selling counterfeit merchandise.)

(click to enlarge)       rkchin
26 July 2008 fake louis vuitton
handbag tout
(click to enlarge)                 robert k. chin
31 Aug 2008 handbag tout
  handbag tout
(click to enlarge)               robert k. chin
31 Aug 2008 handbag tout

(click to enlarge)       rkchin
12 September 2009 handbag tout, and corner lookout man.

Then there are the touts who hang around street corners and subway entrances uttering 3-4 magic words to every passing woman, "Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Coach?" They show you pictures of the handbags they have, and if interested, you follow them to semi-secret locations to buy these so-called better quality fakes. Most of these people carry cellphones and are constantly looking back for police and private investigators; it has almost become a game of sorts between the counterfeiters and the authorities. It has even gotten to the point of absurdity, with the arrest of an innocent Chinese funeral goods owner who sold cardboard copies "joss paper" meant for the afterlife.

I should also say that there are also many legitimate street vendors on the street (food vendors, general vendors, first amendment vendors, veterans). All these guys are regulated by the nyc department of consumer affairs, and possess a yellow vending license (blue-colored if they are disabled veterans). The rules for street vending are complicated, sometimes leading to disputes between vendors, but here's a handy illustration that simplifies the rules, as well as advocate better ones.

crowded canal st
(click to enlarge)       robert k. chin
23 May 2009 crowded canal street.
  police raid
(click to enlarge)               robert k. chin
27 Feb 08 police raid. Most of this evidence is later destroyed, or donated to the needy.

cortlandt alley and canal
(click to enlarge)                 robert k. chin
08 June 2007 cortlandt alley & canal
  illegal street peddlers
(click to enlarge)               robert k. chin
17 Nov 2007 illegal street peddlers

Most souvenir and purse vendors on canal street open their store around 10am (9am for the really early birds) and close ~6-7pm, 7 days a week, rain or shine.

See also:
· Manhattan street vendors new york times (includes map, and photos)
· Road map of Canal St. google/navteq
· List of low-cost buses and transportation options to NYC.
· New York City maps & books including free digital maps.

beware of con games
(click to enlarge)                     rkchin
02 Mar 2008 beware of con games.
  illegal street peddlers
(click to enlarge)               robert k. chin
26 July 2008 illegal street peddlers.

mountains of garbage
(click to enlarge)               robert k. chin
13 May 2008 mountains of garbage.
  bongs, glass pipes
(click to enlarge)               robert k. chin
23 Mar 2009 glass bongs.


- Canal Street West -

TriBeCa [Triangle Below Canal Street] is located south of Canal, and west of Broadway, with the best restaurants—Nobu, Odeon, Chanterelle, Megu, Harrison, Bouley Bakery, etc.—centered around Franklin, Hudson, and Greenwich Streets; and also south near Duane Street not shown on this map. Many high-end interior design, and accessory shops are also located in and around TriBeca.

SoHo [South of Houston Street] is located north of Canal Street, between Sixth Avenue, and Broadway. Many art galleries, and high-end designer clothing stores are located in SoHo. One can also buy authentic Prada (575 Broadway), Kate Spade (454 Broome St), Coach (143 Prince St), Chanel (139 Spring St), and Louis Vuitton (116 Green St) at their boutiques.

Broadway is the main street for regular street clothing and fashion; everything from Old Navy to Bloomingdales.

 1Sullivan Street Bakery - artisanal bread
 2Blue Ribbon - american brasserie, oysters
 3Bubby's - casual, american comfort food
 4Nobu, Nobu Next Door - nouvelle japanese
 5Chanterelle - romantic french
 6Odeon - american brasserie, hip and fabulous
 7Bouley Bakery - french cafe, bakery, market
 8Capsouto Freres - old school french bistro
 9Megu - japanese, expense account
10Harrison - old school elegant, comfort food
11Blaue Gans - casual, austrian comfort food
13Pearl Paint - art supplies
14Babes in Toyland - adult sex toys
15Pearl River Mart - chinese department store
16Kee's Chocolates - fresh cream chocolates
21Deitch Projects - contemporary art gallery
22Knitting Factory - new music venue
23New York City Fire Museum
30SoHo Grand Hotel
31Tribeca Grand Hotel
fire station
police station
post office

canal and mercer
(click to enlarge)               robert k. chin
30 Aug 2008 canal & mercer.
  canal and centre
(click to enlarge)               robert k. chin
13 May 2007 canal & centre.

(click to enlarge)       rkchin
16 Aug 2008 mangos.

incense and africana
(click to enlarge)               robert k. chin
16 Aug 2008 incense and africana
  perp walk
(click to enlarge)               robert k. chin
12 Aug 2007 perp walk

canal and broadway
(click to enlarge)               robert k. chin
10 Aug 2008 canal & broadway.
  new york newsstand
(click to enlarge)               robert k. chin
12 July 2008 old new york newsstand

- Canal Street East -

Little Italy is north of Canal, with all the red sauce restaurants, and eateries centered on Mulberry, Hester, and Grand Streets. NoLiTa [North of Little Italy] features many small designer label boutiques, small cafes, and eateries.

Chinatown is a true working class neighborhood bustling with activity. Historic Chinatown with its many restaurants and souvenir shops are centered around Mott, Bayard, Pell and Mulberry Streets. Cheap haircuts are on Doyers St. The fish and fruit market is on Mott St between Grand and Hester, and also on Grand St near Chrystie St.

The Lower East Side is a large eclectic neighborhood located east of the Bowery. The Bowery below Houston St is practically all lighting, and restaurant supply stores. Orchard Street is home to discount clothing, suits, underwear, and small design labels. Most bars and nightlife are located around Ludlow, Rivington, and Stanton Sts.

 1 Jing Fong - dim sum & banquet hall
 2 Ping's, Wo Hop, etc. - mott st restaurants
 3 Chinatown Ice Cream Factory - ice cream
 4 Big Wong, Mandarin Court - mott st restaurants
 5 Joe's Ginger - shanghainese, soup dumplings
 6 Golden Unicorn - dim sum & banquet hall
 7 Dim Sum Go-Go - nouvelle dim sum
 8 Saigon Banh Mi - vietnamese sandwiches
 9 Ferrara Pasticceria - italian pastries
10 Di Palo - cheeses, italian gourmet
11 Italian Food Store - italian heros and pizza
12 Lombardi's - coal oven thin crust pizza
13 Balthazar - french brasserie, chic crowd
14 Ceci Cela - french pastries
15 L'Ecole - french, cooking school
16 Kossar's Bialys - bialys
17 Guss' Pickles - pickles (closed aug 2009)
18 Il Laboratorio del Gelato - excellent gelato
19 Dumpling House - potstickers
20 Les Enfants Terribles - french/african cafe
30 Ten Ren - tea shop, bubble tea cafe
32 32 Mott St - old store
33 Harry Zarin - carpet & fabric superstore
34 Unimax - tattoo supplies
35 Lighting by Gregory - lighting superstore
36 Bloomingdales - designer clothing
LANDMARKS, ETC. (sample)
 7 Chatham Square/Kimlau Square - Kim Lau Memorial Arch, and statue of Lin Ze Hu
40 Museum of Chinese in the Americas (moved to centre st)
41 Eastern States Buddhist Temple
42 Chinatown secret tunnel, hair cut alley
43 Confucius Plaza
44 Mariner's Temple
45 NYC jail "The Tombs"
46 Eldridge Synagogue
47 Lower East Side Tenement Museum
48 Bowery Ballroom - music venue
49 Storefront for Art and Architecture - art gallery
50 Art In General - contemporary art gallery
60 Holiday Inn Downtown
61 Solita SoHo Hotel
62 Fung Wah Bus - next door to Mahayana Buddhist Temple
63 Lucky Star Bus
64 88 East Broadway bus stop
fire station
police station
post office

handing out fliers
(click to enlarge)       rkchin
31 Aug 08 handing out fliers, or maybe modelling abercrombie & fitch.
  barette vendor
(click to enlarge)       rkchin
31 Aug 08 barrette vendor
  lucky bamboo vendor
(click to enlarge)       rkchin
31 Aug 08 lucky bamboo

bonsai guy
(click to enlarge)       rkchin
31 Aug 08 bonsai guy
  silk flower vendor
(click to enlarge)       rkchin
31 Aug 08 silk flowers
  statuette vendor
(click to enlarge)       rkchin
26 Dec 07 statuettes.

phone card vendor
(click to enlarge)       rkchin
16 Nov 08 phone cards.
  keeping chinatown clean
(click to enlarge)       rkchin
13 Sep 08 keeping Chinatown clean.
  peeler guy
(click to enlarge)       rkchin
07 Sep 08 "peeler guy" (RIP).

The Rough Guide New York City Map 1:16000
Amazon.com USA - Canada - France - UK

Absolutely one of the best maps of Manhattan. Rough Guide Map features a clean layout of Manhattan from Battery Park all the way up to 147th Street. Printed on tearproof, waterproof, flexible plastic material

Streetwise Manhattan 1:27000
Amazon.com USA - Canada - France - UK

"I have seen many tourists and visitors carry this map around with them in NY. It really does one thing really well, provide you with a barebones map of New York without going into excessive detail that may increase the time it takes to look something up. The map is printed on laminated heavy cardstock" - rkchin

Borch Manhattan 1:15000
Amazon.com USA - Canada - France - UK

Borsch maps are jam packed full of information, yet easy to read and legible thanks to its clean modern layout and judicious use of colors and icons. Maps are printed on waterproof, tearproof, heavy plastic sheet.

Canal St New York Chinatown NYC Canal Street must see NY Manhattan map visitor must sees maps tourist info information photo images photography photos Flushing Brooklyn china town pictures manhatan carte mapa fotos fotografas del Barrio Chino en Nueva York photographies greene canel mercer wooster cannel west broadway cannal lafayette centre cana mulberry kanal mott elizabeth kannal bowery. russian Нью-Йорк korean 뉴욕시 차이나타운 chinese 紐約 中華街 唐人街 japanese ニューヨーク チャイナタウン

NYC Chinatown Index | Manhattan | Flushing | Brooklyn | Links & Resources | What's New
Storefront Photos | Historical Photos | Bookstore | Directory | Image Usage Policy | E·mail  

© Copyright 2002-2013 by RK Chin. All rights reserved.
visit : rkchin home : photography : nyc chinatown :