Paper lanterns, wooden swords and impractical clutch purses

Paper lanterns, wooden swords, and impractical clutch purses* are just a few of the modestly priced Chinese goods you’ll find at Pearl River Mart, an emporium formerly of Chinatown, now housed on the west side of Broadway between Broome and Grand. They’ve got mandarin tops, bamboo furniture, teapots, chopsticks, jade trinkets, origami paper and many, many decorative geegaws. I am told that it was dirt cheap at its former location (down a covered alley in a no-frills warehouse off Canal St) but I still find it very wallet-friendly. Plus, the Chinese know how to wrap a present: their many-colored sachets, cloth boxes, and papers are a great way to transform stocking-stuffer-level presents into real under-tree dynamite. Last year I wrote boyfriend coupons, e.g., a kiss, a long walk, a long kiss, on origami paper, folded them into roses and dropped them in little sachets, which I then used to fill the Korean chest I’d gotten for my girlfriend. In other words, a little imagination and a few inexpensive items from Pearl River can help you find something new for the man/woman who has everything. Their little tea gallery is a great place to take a load off when you’ve been tramping all over SoHo, too. Oh and lah dee dah, they even have a website now.

Now, granted, you might be able to find many of these items for a buck or two cheaper in a hole in the wall on Canal St, but is it really worth exposing yourself to such madness? Not to this father’s son.

(Challenge accepted, Nora!)

* Though that would seem to imply that other clutch purses are practical: a dubious proposition.

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