Chinatown is one of my favorite spots in New York City. Nope… it’s not what you would call a beautiful place with wonderful smell of jasmine; but you can surely find delicious Asian food, fresh seafood, vegetables and fruits, and garages… I mean shops with everything cheap, cheap, cheap! Great value! To me, the only problem is carrying so much stuff with my two little hands while traveling via the subway after a shopping spree.
Today, I traveled to Chinatown looking for “one purse”, which in Chinese really means “3 to 4 purses plus sunglasses, plus a watch, plus a perfume”. Believe it or not, I do not like to go shopping… no! seriously! Usually, when I go to the mall, I am ready to leave after half an hour. But when you’re in Chinatown, you have to take advantage of the incredible prices.
It is interesting and amusing to see the little Chinese ladies trying to sell you anything. They see you pass by and that’s it! They stalk you saying in a very heavy Chinese accent:
“Purse! Watch! Good price! Which one do you like? You need something? I got what you need”.
Damn! I quickly remembered about a perfume my aunt gave me as a gift a few years ago which I loved, but is discontinued and hard to find. I’ve been looking for it since then but nowhere to find. So thinking about that, I said:
“Okay… you got what I need, huh? Do you have Mariela Burani’s perfume?”
She quickly grabbed a big trash bag full of stuff, and BAM! There was the perfume! She had what I needed. Then she said:
“This discontinued! No more! Original, sealed… I give to you for $35 dala!”
Wow! I love Chinatown! But the price wasn’t right. So I said:
“Nay, I’ll give you $20 for that.” – I know the offer was probably too low but that’s part of the business game… Watch and learn, ladies and gentlemen!
“I give it to you for $28 dala!” – She replied.
“Okay, $25 dala!”
“Alright, I’ll leave then. Thank you!” – I said walking away slowly, until she said…
“Okay, okay! $22!”
“Sold!”- I said grabbing the perfume violently.
But wait! That’s not what I came here for! Oh, well. I proceed with the purse (or purses). Chinatown is probably the fake purse capital of the US. I think there are probably more purses than people here in this neighborhood. Walking down Canal Street (or ‘Purse Street’, I should say), you can find lots, and lots, and lots of stands of all sizes. And hidden behind those purse stands, there are even more purse stands. They have any kind of purse you can imagine… I even found them made out of pompoms!
I saw a beautiful brown purse in a stand that looked much like a garage. There were purses everywhere of all shapes, sizes and colors. The salesman was actually a man, a very big man who considered himself a ‘handbag connoisseur’… or not. I pointed at that beautiful brown purse, and he said:
“Soft leather, classy, good size, it closes, it opens… $28 dala!”
Wow. It OPENS and CLOSES… I thought this guy was an expert. After a few minutes of ‘business talk’, I got the purse for $19. Deal!
I saw another purse which I liked the style but not the ugly purple it had, so I asked the man if he had other colors available. He looked up and down at me suspiciously for a few seconds (he probably thought I was a cop or detective) and then told me to join him to the back of the ‘stand’. He carefully grabbed another black trash bag which contained lots purses in all sorts of colors AND all with a (fake but just like the original) logo of a famous brand I am not even going to mention.
Chinatown is a great are for picture taking. You can find very exotic and colorful items that look great in pictures, but make sure you ask for permission! Most Chinese salespeople don’t like the picture taking.
After an entire day at this wonderful neighborhood, I ended up riding the subway and the bus back to NJ with my hands full. I bought: 2 purses, 2 pashminas, 4 ‘Mont Blanc’ pens, 1 jade ring, 3 bracelets, 2 Chinese pillow covers and my hard-to-find perfume… all this for less than $75 dollars.
What a fun day this was!