Today I was in New York City for some business meetings and I had some time during lunch to stop on my favorite street, Canal Street. I decided to check out the plastic supply houses for some CoroPlast corogated plastic sheets. I was well rewarded, and picked up a clear 4×8 sheet and two 2×4 sheets cheap. I was also rewarded with finding some unique, stickable, vinyl sheets by the yard.
The CoroPlast is for a SPAD flying wing and a Robot RoBoSkin idea I have. I won’t spoil the ideas here, but, I wanted to just post how great Canal is for finding anything you need for your hobbies.
If you have never been to Canal Street, it is the best place to find anything. It is in Lower Manhattan and is where Little Italy and Chinatown meet. Besides the great food in the area, you can find wholesale shops, retail shops, and street vendors selling art supplies, jewelry, electronics, clothing, fabrics, plastics, office supplies, army surplus, brick brack, hardware, computers, car stereo equipment, toys, and just about anything you could imagine as new, used, or surplus. If you take all those items and put them into a blender and shake ‘em out, that’s the feel of Canal Street. WalMart has nothing on Canal Street.
I have been going to Canal Street all my life. I can recall going to Mott Street, just off Canal, to eat Chinese food since I was 2 years old. Afterwards, my dad and I would check out all the stores and street vendors along Canal. My mom would be ahead or behind us in another store looking for fresh vegetables, fish, or other groceries for the week. She also got a kick out of all the fashion knock offs you could find.
When my wife and I were first married, we spent three to four Sundays a month exploring Canal Street. We were newlyweds, had little to no money, but we could always find something to entertain us on Canal street.
Its a great place to get ideas for projects. Strolling through all the shops and seeing all this stuff just gets the creative juices flowing. The imagination kicks into overdrive. For a while surplus computer parts were a big item on Canal and I used to troll the bins of parts looking for parts that would be a good project or a good stock item for future project. My wife thought I was nuts, but she was happy it kept me happy. (P.S. She still thinks I am nuts)
Lately I have not been down Canal Street as often, but every time I do go, I find something that makes its way into my workshop and future project bin.
If you have not been to Canal Street, GO! Make a decision and go. I bet you will find something that is just amazing. Just be prepared for large crowds, stores packed from floor to ceiling and beyond belief, and the most unexpected things to inspire you.