By Jessica Mayne
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Canal Street at Christmastime is an amazing open-air bazaar, where you’ll find a dizzying array of goods from all over the world, visitors report.

Members of the Camden County College community will have a chance to take in the sights and sounds of this part of New York City during a shopping trip planned for Nov. 13, 2010.

“I always start at the landmark Post Office at the corner of Church Street,” one of New York’s several majestic mail facilities built thanks to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, said Emily Heggan of Camden County College.

Located nearby are indoor jewelry stalls complete with vintage Army-Navy stores across the street. The architecture is a hodgepodge of styles, from the ramshackle, falling-down turn-of-the-last-century tenement house to renovated warehouses.

“Great deals on sunglasses, luggage, postcards, electronics, computers and videotapes here can usually be found,” said Kelly Lennard, a Camden County student.

Travel east, look for odds-and-ends, hardware, rubber and industrial plastics stores. Although few people may have the need for vinyl flooring or inner tubes or those hard-to-find vintage doorknobs, definitely peek inside the plastics stores, which feature everything from day-glo sheets of plastic adhesive to human-size Statue of Liberty reproductions.

After admiring the display of vintage fans in one store window on the south side, cross the street and head into Pearl Paint for its six floors of art supplies. No superlatives here; Pearl really does have everything.

Between Centre and Lafayette streets, examine the huge assortment of fake luxury watches, scarves, perfumes and maybe buy a T-shirt or bracelet. Even though dealers keep their most prized goods in attaché cases, it’s nothing to worry about, because U.S. Customs and the New York City police often raid them looking for dealers in counterfeit items.

Moving into the Chinatown part of Canal Street, you’ll find fruit and vegetable stands, fresh fish and Asian grocery stores. It’s a popular place to eat lunch; and don’t forget to stop in to Maria’s Bakery for some Hong Kong-style baked goods.

Visit one of the upscale jewelry stores that sell a huge variety of gold and diamond rings, and stop to admire the ornate, landmark Manhattan Bridge entry at Canal Street and Bowery. Stop in at the Mahayana Buddhist Temple (with a bright yellow façade) across the Bowery, or head north or south to visit more of Chinatown.

If you cross the Bowery and continue going east on lower Canal Street (where the roadway is both narrower and more tranquil), you’ll be rewarded with a tour of the Lower East Side, where old-style luncheonettes compete with Chinese restaurants and Asian greengrocers.

For more information about the upcoming shopping trip to Canal Street, contact the Student Life & Activities Office in the Community Center, Room 200 on the Blackwood campus.

Camden County College plans a trip to Canal Street in New York City. By Jessica Mayne, CCC Journalism Program

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