New York Daily Photo Analytics

Friday, May 12, 2006

Canal Rubber

In a way, Canal Street is NYC at its best and worst. On a hot summer day, with the grit, grime, trash, crowds and traffic it is really is quite abhorrent. Yet it is and has been home to some of the cities truly unique and really useful merchants, not just catering to tourist traffic. Some of the stores are (or were) real meccas: Pearl Paint (5 stories of art supplies), Electric Trading (motor and fan suppliers), Industrial Plastics (just out of business), Canal Hardware (out of business), along with jewelry, Chinatown, street vendors, counterfeit consumer products, electronics, lighting supplies, surplus metals, audio equipment, etc. (and there is plenty of cheap schlock too). One of my favorites is Canal Rubber. I doubt there is another place like it in the country with its amazing inventory of rubber goods displayed at retail. The service can be brusk "New York style" - understandable with the tremendous volume of customers, many of them unknowledgeable about rubber and what they want or need. They have been in business since 1954, serving industrial and retail customers. These independent specialty shops are what have made New York so remarkable and sadly are fast disappearing. If you are in New York City, I recommend a stroll down Canal Street. But be forewarned - this is a FUNKY place, not one that is polished or glamorous.


Darren said...

From Logan City Daily Photo - Our version in Logan City is Clark Rubber "More than just Foam and Rubber" with 70 stores Australia wide. They would be very similar to Canal Rubber. One of my friends used to work at Clark Rubber.

Have a look if you wish -

I love New York :-)

Kathrine said...

I have a confession - it's official - I'm addicted to your daily photo blog. Thank you for bringing wolderful New York City to me - photo by photo. And you have such great stories to go along with the pictures, too.

Alex S said...

Agree with Kathrine =)

It was cool seeing the subwayshots but even more cool seeing the real NY. It´s a pity that small companys and stores like this one is going down the drain.

Makes one worry about the future if everything will be Walmarty-smarty.

MoonSoleil said...

Haha, I've never seen a rubber shop before... sorry, for the looks so weird, that I just have to laugh about it... Funny!

Liz Feliz said...

Neither did I moonsoleil!!

Thanks Brian & Lucy!!!!

Sam said...

Ha! - that is a funny shop...I just made my husband choke on his coffee when I told him!

Mark said...

This is the type of street I love!

Simon said...

And this is the sort of shop I love. The more obscure the parts and pieces, the more covetous my inner magpie becomes, but sometimes, like now while moving home, I confess to regretting the bizarre acquisitions these stores provide. Funnily, the stores seem to last too. There are always enough people who can only find exactly what they want exactly there, never in Walmart (or local equivalent), so there's hope for such eccentricities in the future.
Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

that rubber place is amazing. thank you for the very concise and accurate description of canal street... "highly recommended but is funky, not polished or glamorous"

I've lived in nyc for 20 years and i couldn't have thought of a better way of saying it.

now i live in boston :(

Anonymous said...

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Scuba Diva said...

Funky is good; New York is losing its funk.

emily said...

Hey thanks for your post, Brian...just found it (a few years late.)

Canal Rubber is run by my dad and now my brother, too. My grandmother works there also. We hope to keep our family business around for a long time and help keep New York local!

Check them out at or follow us on Twitter @canalrubber and FB at /CanalRubber