Canal Street and Little Italy

“Gucci? Prada? Coach?”

These are the whispers I had to ignore when I first arrived at Canal Street. I wasn’t there to shop quite yet, I was waiting for my friend from DC to arrive! While I waited for her cab to pull up, I ventured into Little Italy on Mulberry Street. We had decided to get lunch together so I was scoping out the area for potential lunch places when I spied Caffe Roma. I poked inside with no intention of getting food before Laurie got there, but then I spied the chocolate cheesecake and I had to give in.

I sat on Mulberry Street outside Caffe Roma with a glass of water and the most delicious chocolate cheesecake I’ve ever tried. I’m telling you, cheesecake has really grown on me since I’ve been here, though I find I like it better with a topping like Oreos, strawberries, or chocolate! I almost forgot to snap a picture before I ate too much of it, but I made sure to document the deliciousness.

On the wall outside Caffe Roma over the table I sat at


After about five minutes on the phone of “What do you see?” “What street are you on?” and “What are you wearing?” I was reunited with Laurie! It was so wonderful to see a familiar face in the city and she brought her aunt, cousin, and mom since they were all visiting the city this weekend. We ate a quick lunch (Laurie had a bus to catch) at a place that claimed to have the best cannolis on earth. Seeing as I already had dessert (before lunch…oops), I decided to pass and just enjoy my prosciutto and mozzarella panini.

We headed down Canal Street towards Broadway trying to find a cab to get everyone back to their hotel, but it seemed like every cab that passed us already had people riding in it! On our way we stopped in shops along the street. Laurie got some sunglasses and I stopped in a shop to find a new wallet (as much as I love it, mine is just too small for trying to save receipts during the week). I looked at the wallets on display and finally turned to the shopkeeper.

“Ok, where’s the real stuff?”

He smiled and unlocked a drawer beneath the shabby knock-offs to reveal lovely Coach wristlets. I inspected a few and silently picked my target.

“How much?”


I cringed theatrically, “No, ten.”

“Twenty dollar, good deal!” The shopkeeper insisted.

“Fifteen,” I said, trying to be firm.

I had hit my mark. The shopkeeper nodded, swiftly transferred the Coach wristlet into a black plastic bag, and locked the secret drawer. I was so proud of myself for haggling! I wasn’t sure how to low to go or anything like that, but fifteen dollars was definitely a good deal for the wristlet!

After my purchase we finally we spotted a cab with its lights on and I gave Laurie a hug after our quick, but sweet, visit. I decided before heading back to the Bronx to run errands, I’d try my luck with one more purchase. At last, I started listening for the women who would whisper designer names.

After a few blocks I heard one, “Prada? Handbags? Coach?” I caught her eye and silently nodded yes.

“What you want?”

“Coach,” I said.

“Follow me.” and we set off down Canal Street towards Chinatown.

“How many people?” she asked as I followed silently behind her.

“Just me.” She nodded. I was actually getting an adrenaline rush from shopping, HA!

After a few blocks into Chinatown, I was passed off to another woman who discretely handed me a piece of laminated paper with photos of Coach purses. I spied the one I wanted immediately, my favorite color, green! I pointed to it and the haggling ensued again. When it was all over, I had talked her down to 2/3 of her original price and I was told to wait. Moments later, the woman signaled for me and she whipped out the bag I had selected, I hadn’t even seen where it came from! She tucked it into a newspaper dispenser after I nodded that, yes, this was the right bag. After I paid her, she slipped the bag from the dispenser into another black plastic bag, handed it to me, and said “Thank you, bye!”

I could barely contain my excitement as I found my way back to the station and got on the train. I resisted the urge to unwrap the bag on the subway but as soon as I got back to my room I unwrapped it and gave it a full examination.

Say what you want about knock-offs on Canal Street, but this bag, and the wristlet, look mighty legit to me. They both came in white protective bags and had care instructions inside stamped with “Coach.” The stitching is perfect and the logo is indistinguishable from the real thing.

I’ve never been a supporter of carrying designer bags…why pay upwards of $300 for a purse?! But when you can get them as cheap as I did today…what’s not to love?!


About MMM

Resolving to write in 2011!
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