2003_9_pandabobble.jpgThe Times looks at the phenomenon of Pearl River, the Chinese-and-Asian goods outpost downtown. Reporter Denny Lee outlines the store's history, pointing out that owners Ming Yi Chen and Ching Yeh Chen, who have doctrates in chemistry, decided to "bridge the divide between Chinatown and China" by opening Pearl River 25 years ago, as mainland Chinese products were few and far between during the trade ban. They would pick up Chinese products from Canada to bring back to their Elizabeth Street store. Now, in their new 10,000 square foot SoHo store, Mr. Chen says, "It took us 25 years to move our store from Chinatown to SoHo. It was just a short move. But it was a long, long journey." Gothamist is happy for Pearl River's existence, as it's brought us many fun things, like this panda bobblehead figurine that is...Japanese. Hmm.

Pearl River has also been a way for China's influence to extend to fashion. Bloomingdale's fashion director Kal Ruttenstein tells the Times, "Pearl River had an impact on fashion in all countries. Designers all over the world have shopped there. I'm not implying that they copied Pearl River, but they got inspired by looking at the clothes there." Ha! Since when did designers ever "copy" other people's work?

Buying candy at Pearl River on Bluejake.