I need a few large pieces of plexiglass for a project I'm working on. Don't ask, but I'm talking big. Short of hauling my butt out to some godforsaken suburban Home Depot, do you know of any place in the city where I could get something like this?

- Pat, Battery Park City

While many people are aware of places such as Restaurant Row or the Garment District, not too many people realize that Canal Street is Manhattan's unofficial plastic district. (Not to be confused with the Upper East Side, Manhattan's unofficial plastic surgery district.)

Situated among the knock-off bags and customized belt buckles for sale along the busy thoroughfare are stores that specialize in plastic in its many forms. Whether you are doing a small art project, looking for a customized display case for your autographed sports memorabilia, creating shelving for a store, or transporting humpback whales to the twenty-third century to save the world, you will find exactly what you need.

Gothamist recommends Canal Plastics Center (345 Canal Street between Wooster and Greene) as a good place to begin your search. The staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and patient. We recently needed plexiglass for a small framing project and the store beat the price of a nearby art supply and picture framing store by about twenty five percent.

Picture from Apartment Therapy.