Saturday in Chinatown

January 11, 2010 9 Comments A+ a-

My niece, Margo and her friends, Sarah, Melissa, Lydia and Toni came and spent the night with us on Thursday.  Five high-energy, well-mannered, and fun college sophomores--representing the great colleges of James Madison University, George Mason University. Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia.  They had all grown up together in Virginia Beach and had gone to New York for a few days during their Winter Break.

They came back and told us about their visit to Central Park and Strawberry Fieldswhich honors John Lennon Here they are at the Imagine mosaic.

(l-r: Lydia, Melissa, Toni, Sarah and Margo)











Here are Sarah and Margo, getting their "shop on."












Here are the ladies in Times Square--oh, it was about 14 degrees (-10 C) outside, too.  (Baby, it's been cold on the East Coast!)











Radio City Music Hall is a must, of course!













Top of the Rock(efeller Center)...











And, all of the sightseeing stories were fantastic to listen to--but the one thing that got us excited was the shopping on Canal Street in Chinatown.  They brought in all the stuff they bought there and covered my dining room table with their goods.  I was hooked--immediately.  I wanted to go.  And, all it took was a quick phone call to my sister, Donna to ask, "Wanna go?"

She said "yes!"  (Okay, it was more like "Duu-uh...")

Donna drove up from Virginia Beach and spent the night Friday night.  Early Saturday morning, we drove into downtown Washington, DC, to catch the Megabus to New York City.  $36 each, no driving, no tolls to pay, no expensive parking lots , no trying to navigate in NYC, and getting to sleep a little more--it was a steal!  The bus dropped us off near Penn Station, and we grabbed a cab to Broadway and Canal.

Not even out of the cab all the way and there was a tiny Chinese lady at the door.  "Louie, Coach, Gucci," she says under her breath...and flashes a brochure with purse pictures she has palmed in her hand.  We start walking with her and she is taking us away from Canal Street.  She walks about 10 feet in front of us...and gets out her cell phone. Rather, her Nextel Connect walkie-talkie phone. Bee-leeep goes her phone and she mumbles something into it.  Bee-leep, again.  She "hands us off" to another guy, who slips her some sort of money--a five dollar bill, we think-- and she returns to her spot to find more shoppers.  He leads us into his hidden store--hidden in that the glass door is covered in paper so no one can see inside.  He takes us to the backroom where we are actually relieved to see other shoppers.  Yes, it was a little skeevy following these people in New York City, with all the covertness that we saw.  (Wait--is it covert if we saw it?)

But what to our wondering eyes did appear, but a wall full of purses that weren't from 'round here!  Knock-offs of Gucci, Lous Vuitton, Prada, Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Coach.  There were purses that had no name and weren't any particular designers, but, if you purchased one, they would put a little metal plate on it with the name of any designer you wanted!

This purse is $60, that one is $40.  Buy them both and pay $30.  Or something like that...there was some serious negotiating to be done, and if you priced something too low, the seller acted insulted and would turn away.  Donna insulted several of the sellers with her lowball pricing.

However she did it, she made quick work of getting the bags she wanted--Donna negotiated like a champ.  (And none of us had them put a nameplate on a bag. We bought our purses just because we liked them, as is...)  Fortunately, we brought my rollaboard, which was quickly filled.  We also had two other bags to carry our purchases in--and it took no time at all to fill them up.

We drug our bags in and out a couple more places like the hidden store, then just concentrated on the not hidden stores on Canal Street.  Walking on the sidewalks there, in front of every store and heavily concentrated on the subway exits, tiny Chinese ladies, with a palmed brochure, and their bee-leeeps would mumble "Louie, Louie, Louie" or "Prada, you wan' Prada" or "Coach, best quality" as we passed them.  And, men were busy, too, with their "Rolex, Rolex, Rolex" calls as we walked them.  The sidewalks were so crowded--claustrophobic to me, at the street corners especially.  The sisters and the shopping were fun,  but, it was a relief to me when we decided to leave, only because of the crowd and the cold.

And, I'd love to post all the cool and groovy pictures we took while we were there--you know, of all the handbags hanging on the walls of the hidden shops, and all the crowds outside in the well below freezing temperatures, but I can't.  All I have is these, taken in one of the Canal Street dress shops:


I guess I like mannequins with big boobs.















I don't know--she just made me laugh!

Anyway--no pictures taken because we were mostly outside and I seriously had on five layers of clothes--hard to drag a camera out with gloves and waaa-ah.  Plus, I'm thinkin' the hidden handbag store people wouldn't let me take pictures anyway.










We finished shopping and headed back to Penn Station to catch the bus home.  While there, we had dinner at TGI Friday's.  (That's when it hit us that we were in New York City:  a bowl of pasta cost me $20.19, before taxes and tip!)

And, oh, I got one more picture!  Once on the bus, we were able to snooze a little more.  Donna moved to another seat to have extra space--but left her cell phone.  Revenge is a dish best served cold, and I served her right up for a practical joke she played on me 10 years ago.  I set the alarms on her new phone, knowing she didn't know how to work it!
Blondie


Yesterday morning, she said she kept waking up all night long because of her phone--and she didn't know how to turn it off.



I am still laughing!!
Blondie

9 What's YOUR view? Click here to comment, please!

Write What's YOUR view? Click here to comment, please!
Kirsten
AUTHOR
January 11, 2010 at 9:30 PM delete

LOL. Did you own up to it?

Reply
avatar
Blondie
AUTHOR
January 11, 2010 at 10:12 PM delete

Of course I did! I'm proud of it! And, I am STILL laughing!!

Reply
avatar
Lydia
AUTHOR
January 12, 2010 at 12:02 AM delete

We saw those funny mannequins, too! I am glad you guys had such a great time :)

Reply
avatar
John in MRY
AUTHOR
January 12, 2010 at 12:33 AM delete

Sounds more like you were in PEK thank NYC, LOL

PS...Funny on the phone alarm

Reply
avatar
All the best!
AUTHOR
January 12, 2010 at 8:04 AM delete

Happy New Year! It is NOT freezing here in St Croix US Virgin Islands. We had a nice snorkel on Sunday. See photos: Christiansted SXC
No socks here... except the cruiseship folks :)
- Sheila

Reply
avatar
Blondie
AUTHOR
January 12, 2010 at 1:30 PM delete

Sheila--LOVE your snorkeling pics! I just bought a new North Face coat while you probably just bought more sunscreen!

Reply
avatar
Josh
AUTHOR
January 15, 2010 at 11:47 AM delete

Just wanted to say I recently found your blog via Amazon and my Kindle and I've enjoyed it quite a bit. What are your thoughts on the Megabus? They caught my eye when they were offering a special deal at around $6 for a bus to NY. I was kind of leery though, when I think of taking the bus good images don't come to mind. Would you use Megabus again? How was the trip itself? Thanks!

Reply
avatar
Blondie
AUTHOR
January 15, 2010 at 1:57 PM delete

Being a bit of a travel snob, I was leery of the bus, too, until Melissa, one of the college girls that visited, told me about it. I researched it, too, having remembered that the Washington Post did an comparison article on the bus services: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/artsandliving/travel/busreview/index.html

Bolt bus and Tripper bus would have been our first choice, but they were sold out. Megabus was just fine--it was very clean--nothing fancy--did have Wi-fi, and to park in the lot in DC was only $5 for the whole day. We would absolutely use the Megabus again. The trip itself was 4 hours and 15 minutes with one stop somewhere near Baltimore. I slept as much of it as I could, since I didn't bring my laptop--had to save room for the goods we bought!

Reply
avatar
Blondie
AUTHOR
January 15, 2010 at 2:04 PM delete

John in MRY--you are free to borrow my prank anytime you like. (I am STILL laughing over that one!)

Reply
avatar