What’s not to love about Canal Street!?! Although right now it is undergoing a huge transformation, it will be years before they manage to chase away the core grit/beauty of Canal Street’s hustles and handbags. The tourists trails, the African hustlers arguing to fisticuffs, the relentless Chinese women guiding you into every door and dark hallway, the smell of cheap T-shirt ink and off-gassing toxic leather goods.... ahhhh, it's like a mall crossed with a swap meet, peppered with a mild mugging in an alley! And that’s why we love it.

Incase you didn't know, here is a paragraph that explains how Canal St. got it’s name:

Yes, there really was a canal at Canal Street. On the intersection of Centre and Leonard Street and stretching out about a block in each direction there once was a small body of water known as Collect Pond (“Collect” being and English corruption of the Dutch†word “Kolch” meaning “small body of water”). Local residents drank from the pond until the late 1700’s when pollution made the water unfit for human consumption.

In 1808, out of fear that the pond was harboring disease, the city built a canal to drain it. Once the pond was drained, the canal was no longer necessary and the stench from it became so unbearable that the city covered it up turning it into a sewer. Canal Street now stands as a landmark to where this canal once flowed.
Bridge at Broadway and Canal St. in 1811; source: TheMemorial History of the City of New-York: From Its First Settlement to the Year 1892 by James Grant Wilson
In this folder you'll find many pictures of why my friends and I love Canal Street, both old and “new”. I highly recommend a google search on the history of Canal Street New York, and the Five Points. There is some really amazing stuff to find and read.