"Handbags, electronics, banks and people"
Canal is an insanely busy street that marks the beginning of Tribeca. It's a bizarre street because it takes on so many different things depending on what block you happen to be standing on. There are a lot of kiosks on this street and little storefronts that are constantly changing. It seems like an American version of a Mexican market place in a lot of areas because the businesses are so transient and full of tourists. Canal actually used to be a canal and there is still flowing water underneath the road.
Canal at Washington actually has 4 historical row houses which is really rare for a street this busy. And, Tribeca doesn't have a lot of historical landmarks so these homes are really special and they are lovely to boot. Even though there are businesses on the ground level of the homes, this part of Canal is one of the few chunks that isn't swarming with traffic and people. It's the only part that feels like a neighborhood street. As you go down towards Renwick, the buildings become condo buildings and businesses like the Village, but the street still feels like a neighborhood street. Once you cross Hudson, that's all over.
There's an immediate shift to massive commercial spaces, cars, and luxury high rises once you cross Hudson. The 92Y Tribeca is right on the corner across the street from a massive college building. Across Varick, you do get the benefit of two parks on one block which is nice, but the traffic makes it a little lackluster and the only building in the midst of these parks is . . . .a Chase bank. How quaint, right?
Across 6th you get several blocks of some of the ugliest buildings in the neighborhood and some of the most bizarre, tiny stores in the city. There are like five electronics stores on the block of 6th and Canal alone . . . coupled in with a graffiti tool store and an alarm shop.
Down through West Broadway there are shopping gems such as a plastics store, a rubber store, more electronics, jewelry and car stereos. It is the most motley crew of shops ever. And, I have no idea how they stay in business.
Throughout Canal there are few things you can be sure that you won't be for lack of: knock handbags, perfume or a bank. They are lining the streets outside of the tiny storefronts. There are, legitimately, dozens of little knock off kiosks so if you're into that, this is the spot to be. I don't enjoy any of the buildings on this street, and there's nothing in the way of good restaurants or bars. You combine that with the sheer number of people and cars and it is a recipe for a crappy street to live on. Canal is huge so it's kind of unavoidable, but I would only go to Canal for a purse or in a cab on the way to somewhere else.
Canal Street has been the subject of many negative stereotypes over the years - from cheap knockoff bags to unpleasant and blaring noise. While it is true that Canal Street can be uncomfortably crowded and chaotic - it's still a worthwhile destination for a visitor interested in seeing another side of New York City life. Designer bags and grey market goods, as well as counterfeit DVDs, are often on sale here, along with a number of novelty goods of varying quality. Often, shops in this area will have a hidden "back room" where you can be shown all manner of knockoffs kept surreptitiously off the street to avoid unwanted police surveillance. Note that knockoffs and the sale thereof are illegal, and conduct your acts accordingly. Yet this isn't Jack Nicholson or Faye Dunaway's Chinatown - it's relatively safe (normal caution should be applied - don't flash your cash everywhere you go). Remember - unlike the boutiques of Madison Avenue, sellers here are open to haggling, so go with a price in mind and be prepared to bargain down, down, down.
"Canal is a nightmare"
Canal Street is a major street downtown and marks the beginning of Tribeca and Chinatown further east. It is absolutely flooded with people on any given day. It's impossible to catch a cab anywhere on this street and if you actually do, you will be sitting in it for quite a while. Canal is famous for the bargain hunting and designer knock off shopping; but, I'm not a fan. There are people everywhere and you're rifling through bins of cheap purses that look like Balenciaga bags. If you're into that sort of thing, this is your street. But, I hyperventilate just thinking about it. It's really dirty on Canal and there are a ton of foreigners that have no personal space. It's loud and obnoxious. And, at night, it's really dangerous and seems remote.
There are a series of landmarked rowhouses on Canal and Washington that are really old and beautiful so those are worth a look if you're walking this street. Les Enfants Terrible is a really cool restaurant on Canal that is in the LES / Chinatown area. It has a hip, French vibe and it's lovely. They have the best lamb and good wine. But, it's the only restaurant that I would go to on Canal. It's worth the trek, but in my opinion, it's about the only reason to dine on Canal.
"Find your Deal on Canal!"
You can find everything on Canal Street! It is famous for its China Town where you can get good deals on clothing, bags, sunglasses, "I love NY" T-shirts...pretty much everything. It is good on shops, bars and restaurants, although it is a little bit unclean on the street and very busy.
- Families with kids
"Canal Street -- If you like hustle and bustle and good bargains...come to Canal Street"
It's not the most scenic of streets, but you can surely find some bargains if you keep your eyes open. Home to many chinese immigrants nowadays, Canal Street is also home to Chinatown. Along Canal, you can find jewelry stores, shops that sell everything from t-shirts, plastics, sunglasses, knock off bags, perfumes and colognes, as well as art supplies (at renowned Pearl Paints).
If you're hankering for some lunch, look for the many quaint lil chinese dumpling shops. They may not look like much from the outside (or inside for that matter) but the taste (and price), superb!
Word to the wise, don't bring you kids with you unless they absolutely have a PASSION for walking.
"Canal Street, New York, New York"
My first experience in New York City was visiting a office in Canal Street. For the life of me I could not understand what the Big Deal about New York was. If the rest of the City was like this Street than it was charmless, Rude, dirty and out of control. Over the next year I made several trips to this same office and started to learn to appreciate the Uniqueness of this street, and for what really has to offer. Great Shopping experience (if your brave). If New York city is the Melting pot, than Canal Street is where it gets its most exotic ingridients. The Vendors on street, where I think you can do your best shopping, seem like they come from every corner of the world. This is also true in the restaurants it has that line Canal Street. The street is large and extremelly hectic, I would not want to live in it, but it is perfect for a day of shopping and just to see people and things you would not find on the other side of the river.
"Crazy. Congested. Courageous."
That's the thoughts going through your head when you first turn onto Canal Street. Wow, this is crazy. I never thought it would be this congested. Anyone trying to drive through this is awfully courageous. Streets stalls line most of the blocks up to 5 pm, which is when they pack it up and the streets become empty except for the garbage. It stinks - sure, that puddle you stepped in is definitely not water, but only on Canal St. can you rent a DJ Soundsystem, buy a mini pet turtle, and end your day with fresh Chinese food. Worth a look.
- Families with kids
"Smelly and congested, true to its canal roots"
Canal Street got its name because back in the day of horse-drawn carriages and primitive sanitation systems, the street actually had an open sewer running down the middle of it. It can't be hard to imagine how the less than adequate sanitation of the time might have led to several typhoid epidemics over a number of the summers of the late eighteen hundreds. “The City” back then meant mostly whatever's below SoHo, with the north part of Manhattan still a swampy wilderness. These days, Canal Street is a non-stop traffic jam, with car traffic that pours in from Jersey via the Holland Tunnel, and pours out on the other side at the Manhattan Bridge. It's just non-stop unpleasantness, really. You can go shopping here, for a distinct type of cheap merchandise, including “Rolex,” “Gucci,” and “real pearls, guarantee!” hawked by vendors who pack their wares into tiny street-side cubicles. One recent trend was for young women by the droves to stand around with laminated pictures of “designer” handbags. I'm guessing you would pay too much for one, and then either follow them to another location to get your handbag, or else some peon would go fetch it from a stash around the corner. In any case, I heard there was a raid a couple of weeks ago and the police pretty much swept the street for illegal vendors, so they've vanished overnight. I'm sure it won't take long before a new trend emerges.
Every kid who ever passed through the halls of an art school in the city of New York has heard of the fabulous Pearl Paint on Canal Street, a six-story wonderland of art supplies for students and professionals alike. There are also a couple of specialty Asian grocery stores I like to go to, but for the most part I try to avoid this smelly, congested street as much as I can.
- great NYC energy
- jewelry shops
- Knock off shopping
"Shop until you drop"
Canal Street is just all about the shopping. Sometimes the street can be too busy but this merely underlines the popularity of the street and means that everyone wants to go there and do the same thing. It may not be as recognisable to tourists and New York watchers as some of the high profile streets but you will definitely have a great day shopping in this location.
"Canal Street is for people with nothing better to do"
Ah, Chinatown. Canal Street is absolute madness. If you hate crowds, hanging out here is like the equivalent of heading over to Times Square for a random stroll. It’s not really a place where actual New Yorkers go. Chinatown isn’t the cleanest neighborhood, and during the summer months the smells can be overwhelming. Canal Street is ALWAYS packed with tourists who come to check out the designer imposter street markets. Don't get me wrong - there are some great places to go in Chinatown, it's just that none of them are on this street.
"Canal St: Open-air bazaar"
Canal St. runs from the Hudson River to E Broadway. It is famous for its good deals on about everything one might need. On its western part, there are shops selling from jewelries to computers. I personally prefer the Chinatown part of Canal Street. It is a busy street with good Chinese markets and food. At the corner with The Bowery, there is a bright yellow building – the Mahayana Buddhist Temple – that is definitely worth a visit. After The Bowery, Canal Street becomes quieter.
"Gritty underbelly of counterfieting"
Canal Street is known for a lot of things and while some are good others are less savory. The underbelly of the counterfeit apparel market is found on Canal Street with fake designer bags being the top seller, although sneakers, cell phones and bootleg movies are not far behind. While there are good deals, great food and a rich atmosphere to Canal Street it can feel gritty and unsavory at moments. Shop keepers are rather pushy as well so you simply must know how to handle them to get out without buying something.
"The center of New York's Chinatown"
Canal street is what most people associate with Chinatown and it's certainly one of the most crowded areas in the city. Canal street is notorious for great food and small stores that offer a variety of goods. Street vendors are common on Canal St. and many native New Yorkers flock to the neighborhood to find discounted goods.
Many of the shops hock souvenirs and tee-shirts to the tourists who flock into the area, however further browsing will reveal some beautiful Asian treasures; everything from paper lanterns to kimonos. The industrial plastic shops that dot the area also offer some fairly interesting finds and are absolutely worth a second look.
The food in the area can be absolutely amazing. Travelers need not be scared away by the “hole in he wall” appearance of most of the establishments. Some of the best the city has to offer can be found here
Canal streets has a significant problem with illegal vending and counterfeit goods. Tourist should be advised that street vendors who have set up makeshift stands on corners are usually running an illegal business of counterfeit goods.
- Families with kids
"Great Shopping, but Many Crowds!"
The best time to walk through Canal Street if your goal is to actually just walk through it is at 6am, before all of the stores open. Once the merchants open up to their masses, the streets are teeming with people trying to score a bargain bag or perfume. This street is fantastic for finding great shopping and bargains. Anything from "Prada" bags to I love New York T shirts to various perfumes and other accessories. There are also some great restaurants in the area, which are especially enjoyable if your palate is brave. Don't hesitate to go into the various shopping malls that catacomb the buildings throughout Canal Street. In here, you might find some of the greatest bargains on attractive jewelry and other gifts. Further down by the Manhattan bridge, Canal street turns into a haven for various bank branches, as well as several other offices. This is definitely a place to stop by, and really enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of Chinatown!
"Multi-cultural, great food, busy ....."
Plan to spend the day. You get to go through Chinatown, enjoy lunch at any of the many choices of excellent Chinese places. Canal will take you to Little Italy, where you can have the best thin-crust pizza and a cannoli. Along the way, you shop your head off. There are knock-offs of all the high-end brands; Prada and Chanel bags, designer clothes, jewelry galore. You can shop at open air stalls for anything from food to shoes, or check out the little shops. If you are looking for authentic items, you can find them, but be careful. There are a lot of fakes out there.
- Families with kids
"Very crowded but great bargains"
Canal strreet is always the place I went to for electronics. They have everythign you need there at prices you thought were impossible to find. When I needed a scientific then a graphic calculator and was told tit would cost about 200 dollars, my mother took me straight to canal street, where we looked around at a few stores and bargained until we found a brand new one for just 80 dollars. Of course they love when you pay with cash.
On canal street, right off the Williamsburg Bridge, you can find very cheap school uniforms as well.
The disadvantage of shopping here would be that it is very crowded and looks unorganized. You must be tough and be ready to hav eot push through a crowd. While some prefer to do their shopping in a mall where they knwo where everything is and know they will find parking, I love the excitement of going somewhere different and having storied to tell and beign able to brag about how much less I paid for the same item as the classmate next to me.
"Great Deals & Tourist Trap"
During the fall I usually go to Canal Street a lot. I do a lot of fabrication for work, so it's the best place to go in Manhattan to get discounted plastic, rubber, and art materials. It's pretty much one-stop shopping if you're looking to buy those kinds of supplies. If you want DVD deals and knock-off bags, clothing, and jewelry, it's also a really great place to go. But just for strolling around or living, I really wouldn't suggest it too much. I try my best to avoid Canal Street during the summer! It's jam-packed with tourists looking for deals on cheap bags and clothing, and to be honest, it can smell pretty bad too. I would only suggest going to Canal Street if you're up for adventure- dodging dvd-ladies, heckling with jewelry salesmen, and avoiding being pick-pocketed. It's an incredibly busy street and very very loud. For all the commotion, I don't think the rent prices in the area are as low as they should be.
"Props for being friendly to visitors while remaining authentic"
Perhaps the ONLY street in New York that I think is great for visitors and locals. Tourists love to gawk at the crappy merchandise on stands and go home with stories about going to the backs of stalls on Canal Street. But seriously, this street offers great, delicious, authentic Chinese food. I'm surprised the neighborhood hasn't been gentrified yet and promoted as some sort of "authentic" New York experience for high rises and condos and whatnot. I better stop writing before I jinx it.
"Canal Street, Lafayette Street"
The heart of Chinatown, this is a great place to buy a cheap handbag, a good knock-off, sunglasses, watches, and anything your heart desires, for under 20 dollars. A friend of mine was recently coerced into the backseat of a woman’s car after being bidden by the words, “Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton.” She got in the car and was quickly pushed out after the saleswoman told her the cops were coming. Good sign that the bags were REAL! This street has a wonderful restaurant called Fu Kee, with delicious egg drop soup, and other cuisine, all generally under 5 dollars. After a long day of shopping, It is a good place to have a cup of tea and look over the days purchases.
- Families with kids
"Highlights and Lowlights of Canal St."
So this is definitely the street to avoid if you are a claustrophobic and/or germaphobic. I won't kid you, the streets are filthy and smelly. Walking is only a little more difficult here than Time Square. However, eating here is fun if you know where to go. My recommendation is Happy Shabu where you can make your own soup. It's much more flavorful than the Japanese version of Shabu. While you are in the neighborhood, stop by one of the little bakeries for a bubble tea and cheesecake bun. This area is also great for difficult to find ingredients and spices.
- Families with kids
"Canal Street is Real New York"
Canal Street is the long, exciting edge of New York's Chinatown and it's one of my favorite bargain hunting streets.
There are so many tiny perfume and fashion shops on Canal that it's difficult to visit them all on the same day. Luckily there are also enough cafes and excellent Chinese restaurants (have some dim sum!) that I have never had a problem taking a little break.
I've also managed to get some very good deals on costume jewelry here. It's a bit busy and crowded, and I imagine there might be some pickpockets and street crime going on, but the police have a pretty visible presence, and I've never been robbed here! This is as close as I have found to a bustling old-style market in New York, and I love it very much.
"Knock Offs Galore"
At the heart of what China Town, New york city is, Canal St is a must visit. You can get anything here from designer bags, clothes, jewelry and perfumes. Always crowded, especially in the summer, so be ready.
- Families with kids
"Get your cheap clothing here"
Talk about busy. It's always crowded, but that comes with the territory of having cheap items on every street corner. China Town is a great place to pick up some cheap knock-offs, and are always available. There are great places left and right to spend some time (and of course money). Always a great time here.
"Still a Great Bargain"
Canal Street is like a lot of streets in New York and has a number of different faces. Of course there is Chinatown, where you can of course get great bargains even if a good majority of what they sell is knockoffs, fakes and illegal. Lots of good Chinese food of course, both in restaurants and Chinese groceries. Very very crowded sometimes, difficult to navigate even on foot. And the further west you get the more upscale it gets; Canal Jeans used to be a place where you could get a vintage dress from a bin on the street for a dollar or two, no more! But as always plenty of places to spend your money and lots of atmosphere. Enjoyable.
- Families with kids
"Handbags and Buses"
Anytime an outoftowner talks to me about Canal Street, they're talking about handbags, and apparently it's great for them. Though a bit secretive, they're cheap and plentiful. Also fake, minor detail. Many of the Chinatown to Chinatown buses leave from Canal Street or close by. By far the best cheap way to travel along the Eastern Seaboard. All in all, a crazy crazy hodgepodge of...well...hodgepodge.
"Canal Street = really a canal?"
Canal Street actually was a canal before--or at least a channel to drain the heavily polluted ponds. It was dug in 1805 and paved over as a stagnant health hazard in 1815, but an underground stream apparently still flows beneath the roadway. It's one of the most famous New York streets, also called "Little Italy."