Seen & Heard: Canal Street vendors busted

J. happened by a bust of the counterfeit vendors that line the sidewalks at Broadway and Canal on Wednesday. It’s my observation that the bazaar has been a little thinner later — better than it was when I did this post last November — but certainly not cleared.

The South Street Seaport Museum and the LGBTQ+ sailing club Knickerbocker Sailing Association (KSA) are proud to host a free film screening of “Pride from Above” at Pier 17 on July 26 at 6:30p. Pride from Above is a one-hour aerial journey across the globe created by National Geographic to give a spectacular view of LGBTQ+ Pride, including the 2022 Rainbows on the Hudson sail. Registration is encouraged but walk ups will be accommodated as possible.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage in BPC will host a series called Summer Thursdays with music and storytelling, as well as dinner and drinks at the LOX Café, starting July 13 to August 24. See the event details here.

B.J. Jones is resigning his post as president and CEO of the Battery Park City Authority to join the Adams administration. He took the position in 2018. The authority is expecting to select a successor at the end of this month. Jones’ new position is as executive director of “Making New York Work for Everyone,” overseeing implementation of the plan crafted by the “New” New York panel convened by Mayor Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul. “Making New York Work for Everyone” — in case you didn’t know — is an “action plan with the goals to reimagine 23/7 commercial districts, shorten commutes to work and generate inclusive, future-focused growth.”



  1. Canal was so clear that when I got off the train #Broadway and Canal, it took me a second to orient myself.. I’m not a vehemently against it as some, but I’m sure the neighbors appreciate the reprieve..

  2. The counterfeit bazaar situation is worse than ever. They are also expanding. This lawlessness is not only shameful but also menacing. Clearly the city deliberately turns a blind eye, but why? No politician in the past decades since Bloomberg ever came forward to address the problem, what are we missing? Does it really go all the way to the top of City Hall? Has Eric Adams, the mayor of law and order ever mention the glaring crime scene on Canal/ Broadway? I always wonder why they occupy the sidewalk mainly on the westside of Broadway as if that’s the agreement with the city? Looks like this and outdoor dining are never going away.

  3. On Saturday (the 8th) the sidewalks on Canal and up and down the corners of the cross streets all the way from Church to Broadway were so jammed with merchandise, including a big glass jar of cannabis, that there was hardly any room to actually walk. Some weeks ago, experiencing the same thing, I told the cops in a nearby car waiting at a red light about the cannabis and the said “Yes, we are aware of it.” So??

  4. I’m curious, if I were to call 311 or even 911 to say there were people on my street illegally selling fake merchandise (and sometimes drugs) what would they do?

    Has anyone here ever called?

    If I was a store owner, I would be making that call daily.

    • I’ve called 311, 911, the so-called counterfeit hot line, spoken with numerous police officers, written to the mayor, written to city council, etc. All of those multiple times.

      In all cases, I either get a “noted” response, no response, or a “we are doing all we can”.

      Police tell me all they can do is write a “summons”. Obviously that has zero effect. They say if they tell the sellers to pack up, the sellers just set up on the next block. Truly a joke.

      • Pardon my ignorance, but if this is illegal for numerous reasons doesn’t the NYPD need to arrest the peddlers when called?

        • Excellent question. They told me they can only give them a “summons”

          They said to pursue them for counterfeiting requires bringing in some kind of counterfeit expert, who is rarely available.

          I’m surprised the brands (who often have flagship stores just blocks away in SoHo) don’t push for ways to crack down on this, or find ways to do it themselves.

          • The brands don’t care, someone who is going to buy $50 Louis Vuitton bag is never going to set foot in the flagship unless they are there to loot it, as per the NYPD and Mayor Adams and Chris Marie, They all don’t care, Now vote for them again.

          • I would think that the brands would still care, as typically poorer-quality knock-offs dilute the value of the brand.

            This is an issue in electronics, for example. Poor quality technology knock-offs which are designed to fool buyers into thinking they are the real deal, but yet are unreliable, will damage the brand.Some of the fakes are remarkably difficult to discern from the real deal, even the packaging. However, often internally they have cheap and poor-quality components.

            There are whole sites dedicated to trying to make sure a pair of Sony headphones is authentic, for example. E.g.:



            Obviously handbags and sunglasses are not electronic tech. Still, quality can be compromised in materials and workmanship, which again damages the original brand’s reputation for quality (if it has one).

            Beyond all that, I just don’t get the point of owning a counterfeit Rolex or Chanel or whatever. The whole point is to have the real deal, isn’t it? If I were to want one, I would want the real thing. If I have a fake, I will always know it’s a fake, which would ruin the experience of using that thing for me. Whom would I be trying to fool? If I can’t afford the real deal, I would instead go for a less expensive brand of watch or handbag or whatever, not a fake of the posh one.

  5. The busts are so rare as to be useless. if there were a will to eradicate this scourge, it would be gone. That requires repeated busts, probably daily as needed, and real penalties, not a “summons” which is ignored. There are numerous laws broken here daily by this “market”:

    – businesses occupying a public place without a license
    – obstruction of sidewalks and building entrances
    – selling of counterfeit goods
    – buying of counterfeits goods
    – littering
    – public urination
    – presumably tax evasion (sales tax, income tax)

    Furthermore, such “business” fuels organized crime, and has even been linked to funding terrorism.

    Clearly the law has no “teeth” here to do anything. The lack of any concern by the powers that be makes a joke of the law.

  6. The sellers are back. I walk through these areas multiple times a week and have not noticed any thinning of the bazaar. In fact, it has spread. It’s all the way down Canal from Broadway past the gym.

    For a while the bazaar was all around 401 Broadway also, even starting to stretch down Walker Street, but in recent months, 401 has somehow managed to enforce that perimeter. It looked like they had a guard for a while. Haven’t seen a guard recently, but they somehow allow one lone weed seller with a tiny table, but nothing else. How does 401 accomplish this? Whatever methods they use, why don’t other businesses on the counterfit strip do the same: Chase bank, Champion Parking, the “Inter” building. (I’d like to bring family to the “Inter” exhibit, but don’t want to have to fight through the crowd of counterfeiters to get to it…so shouldn’t they be concerned they are losing business? I also avoid that Chase bank now, which is the one we used to use.) Does anyone know how 401 does it?

    Then again, the solution is not just to displace the bazaar to the next building; it’s to eradicate it. Those methods can include programs to transition these sellers to operating or working with legitimate businesses.

  7. I was so excited when I read Pam’s original post while out of town – only to return and per usual, the “bazaar “ has only relocated to a long stretch of Canal past the US Post Office. I was completely unable to make my way to West Broadway due to the single-file parade of shoppers. Please @nycdistrict1 (Christopher Marte), help!

  8. The trademark owners were successful in dissuading landlords from allowing the sales of counterfeit items in rented stores. They had legal leverage over the landlords.

    Short of suing NYC for being an accomplice in allowing illegal sales on city owned property (i.e., sidewalks), what can the trademark holders do?

    • Good point, James. Apparently there are counterfeit-detection investigators, whom the trademark holders hire. Those are involved in the raids seizing the items. Yet those raids are too rare to have any effect.

      The city can still go after these bazaars for non-IP reasons: operating a business presumably without a license, without paying taxes, occupying public space for commercial use, obstructing sidewalks, etc.

  9. I find it amusing people defend luxury brands. Chanel has raised prices 3x this year and quality gone downhill

    Is it reasonable for a black box bag to cost over 16,000 ?

    • It’s a luxury item, not a necessity. As such, it can be priced at any level the seller sees fit. I don’t see that as a good value, so I choose not to buy it. If I really wanted it, then I would have to find a way to pay the asking price, or do without it.

      As I see it, the concern is about intellectual property rights in general. We can’t selectively apply intellectual property protections. If intellectual property rights are important to defend, then that applies to everything from luxury brands to inexpensive items. Furthermore, these days everything is being counterfeited, from medicines to electronics. It’s a shameful industry that rips off IP owners, fuels organized crime and even terrorism, etc. Anyone buying this stuff is fueling that organized crime. Plus of course all the blight this creates on the city: blocked sidewalks, litter and filth, public urination, etc.

  10. “[NYPD] Chief Timothy Baudette said that the hawkers had blocked the entrances to numerous businesses in the area. […]

    “But cops vowed to keep up the enforcement.

    “ ‘We’re going to continue with the operations,’ Baudette said. ‘Going forward, we’re also going to be posting officers here to try to prevent this setup, so the gentlemen don’t waste their time out here losing their merchandise or getting arrested and so forth.’ ”