Those who thought Canal Jeans had vanished from the city’s radar in 2002 were only partially right.
Since the Broadway location shuttered, it’s no longer a closet-refilling station for NYU students and New Jersey high-school kids dying to land “most individualistic” in their class superlatives. (Do they still have those?) But Canal Jeans, or at least an intriguingly decrepit version of it, lives on behind the Target on Nostrand Avenue, and it remains a place where the adventurous budgeteer could come away with a bag full of finds, if not an afternoon’s amusement.
For those who wander in unwittingly, easy enough to do since there’s no sign, an appropriate response is: WTF? When the Manhattan store shut down in 2002, they took whatever was left unsold—a combination of new and vintage goods—and sent it to this nondescript two-floor space (below) across from what is now the Target parking garage and next to a dubious-sounding beef retailer called “Meat Barn.” The Brooklyn Canal Jeans is apparently not well-known. “Am I the only person in New York whose is aware that this place still exists??” wrote the lone reviewer on Yelp, saying the place resembled “Moscow, circa 1985.” Pretty much, except they had bread lines and here there isn’t another soul around.
The Canal staff say they don’t get new stock, and are only around until they sell off all of the old stuff. But how to explain a Bionicles costume that had a Target label dated 2005, originally $24.99, marked down to $10, marked down to $1.99, and sold to a happy 6-year-old customer for $1, along with a cape and a mask, also a buck each?
Clothing-wise, the 10-for-$5 bins are full of Reagan-era relics: long-sleeve polo shirts that button all the way down, t-shirts cut off above the navel, but there are also Smith carpenter jeans and Levi’s for $10, along with racks of bookish camel blazers, 3 for $25. And what St. Ann’s parent wouldn’t beam with pride to send his shaggy-haired moppet off to school in a pair of vintage ’70s plaid slacks just like dad used to wear? But wait, there’s more…
How can there not be a single cute dress in this $5 rack? How about the red-and-white one all the way left?
Do red tiger-print stovepipe jeans ever go out of style in BK? They say $25—what is this, Bergdorf’s?—but go ahead, make an offer.
At 2 for $5, the polyester lemon-yellow golf trousers come out to $2.50 each. OK, so there are about three skinny gay guys in Williamsburg who could get away with these, but if you’re out there…
From this angle, they look almost Meatpacking District-worthy. Chic blackout curtains?
It’s important to note that you will pass items like this:
Apparently it didn’t even sell in Moscow. Canal Jean Company, 2236 Nostrand Ave. between H & I, 718-421-7590