Last summer I found myself playing tour guide to three Melbournian
men on a one-day whirlwind excursion through lower Manhattan. All three Aussies had been to NYC on previous visits, but
this trip required the expert skills of a savvy New York shopper, which I, (unbeknownst to them) am most certainly
But my pal Deano had promised to return to Oz with some grouse Louis Vuitton knock-offs for his sheila, so me and
Men at Work headed to Canal Street, the premiere discount-shopping
strip in Chinatown. We scanned street vendors and stores selling electronics, perfumes, souvenirs and all things faux —
but caught no glimpse of the desired designer bag.
After almost a half hour of searching, we were ready to give up and grab lunch when a young Asian woman pointed to
me, frantically whispering “Louie?? Louie??” Next thing I knew, the whole lot of us huddled in an alley — the
Aussies waved photos of purses, the woman chattered fiercely into a walkie-talkie, while I just stood there laughing at
this international fashion transaction. A guy on a bike soon appeared, towing two garbage bags full of fake Vuittons.
My mates quickly negotiated a deal, the woman hopped on the back of the bike, and the pair disappeared around the
Probably not the smartest way to shop in Manhattan, but we got what we came for. Weeks later, I learned all about
the crackdown on the sale of counterfeit
purses along Canal Street. Yup. Like I said, I’m no expert shopper. I haven’t been back downtown since that day,
but I can only assume that if you want to buy a top brand knock-off, you won’t find it on display when exploring this
area. (But if you really want one bad enough, someone will find you!)
What you will find easily, however, are lots of great bargains, cheap tasty food and a quintessential NYC
shopping experience. Here are maps of the area that highlight the
shopping district, as well as historic landmarks and restaurants nearby. Oh, and if you happen to be down there between
October 20 and the 31st, check out this neat
outdoor art installation on the corner
of Canal and Centre Streets.