This is my favorite shopping spot in NY. While I like Chinatown, it is a bit seedy and much of the merchandise is crap. However, if you travel a few blocks North, you'll find Pearl RIver and it is everything you'd hoped--lots of great items, great prices and the store is huge--and could take you several hours if you're into all things Asian. Some highlights to look for are the Japanese candies/snacks, GREAT teapots and cups, statues, the little tea shop (nice for a break) and lamps (though they are hard to get home in one piece).
My only negative is that on the bottom floor, there are a lot of posters of Chairman Mao--one of the biggest mass-murders in human history. While he revitalized China in some ways, he was a monster and seeing his cuddly face on these posters offended me. It was almost like having Hitler posters in a German market. Plus, it seemed strange to have the Chairman plastered about a bastion to Capitalism!!
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