5 Tips For Surviving Canal Street in New York City

After a weekend trip to the famed black market strip in New York City, I have contrived a list of five things you can do to ensure you come out in one piece.

1. Get there early.

The later you get there the worse off you will be for a couple of reasons. First, parking will be ever more difficult to come by; who wants to walk 10 blocks to arrive somewhere and walk around some more? Secondly, when there are fewer people walking the street during the early hours vendors are more eager to sell things, and thus are easier to bargain with.

2. Don’t keep all your money in one pocket.

Whenever my girlfriend and I go we split up money between us. She’ll typically hold $20 or $40 and I’ll hold the remainder. As she’s the one talking and trying to bargain, she pulls out her money and the vendors can see that’s all she has, so they’ll be more likely to give it to us for the lower price we desire. If they see you whip out a load of cash they’ll try to rip you off even more.

3. Never make eye contact.

Anyone who has ever walked down Canal Street knows it feels like you’re a celebrity being mobbed by paparazzi. Everyone is trying to get you into their store, yelling items and prices your way in hopes of getting some sort of response. Avoiding eye contact with them will limit this harassment and allow you to make it from point A to point B easier.

4. Set a price and stand by it.

Often times you’ll see something you want and upon asking a price, are blown away at the outrageousness of it (sorry, that cardboard Gucci knockoff just isn’t worth $80). When you see something you want ask them a price then respond with a counter offer. Once this counter offer is set they will try to meet you halfway, do not fall for it, stick to your price. Bottom line is they need your money a lot more than you need their product, so 9 times out of 10 they will give in to your demands. In the rare occasion they don’t, walk next door and try your luck there.

5. Buy only what you came for, then leave.

With all of the cheap prices on tons of items it’s easy to get caught up in the ruckus and go on a spending spree; don’t, in the end you’ll end up with a bucket of cheap goods that you will not want a day later, and half of them won’t even work.

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Learning Polish – Day 59

Tonight I added another weapon to my learning Polish arsenal: Before You Know It – Polish. I know, I know, Jon you have so many things to help you learn Polish why did you get another one? Well, when it comes to something as difficult as learning Polish, one can never have too many tools.

They have a lite version and a full version, the lite version is free and is the one I downloaded. It is a pretty cool program and does everything with digital flashcards. First, it shows you the word in Polish and English together and pronounces it in Polish. Then, once you’ve mastered that it shows you the word in Polish and says it and you have to think what it is in English, and see whether or not you were right. After that it shows you the word in Polish and you have to type it in English. Once you get that it shows you the word in English and you have to think and say it in Polish and see if you were right. And finally, once you have beaten all the other ones, it shows you the world in English and you have to write it in Polish. Once you have completed this last step they say that you “own it.”

All in all I’d say my first experience with this program was a very enjoyable and educational one. It’s nice to have a variety of sources to be able to learn from. It helps to prevent burnout from any single source.

Tonight I learned the days of the week, and can recall them from memory. So without further adieu, here they are:

Poniedziałek
Wtorek
Środa
Czwartek
Piątek
Sobota
Niedziela

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Learning Polish – Day 58

What a shocker this must be to some of my human-interest loving readers, but yes, I am still in pursuit of learning Polish. I have not been doing my Rosetta Stone as I should be, but if you recall the last time I posted about learning Polish I had purchased a Polish phrasebook with two-way dictionary from Borders. This book continues to be great but today I added another tool to the mix.

This morning I purchased a beginning Polish audiobook from iTunes. I have had my eye on it for a few weeks now, and last night I finally decided to pull the trigger and make the purchase. It’s one of those typical Polish-English deals where there is a native Polish speaker who says a word and then an English speaker gives the meaning.

Although I have only been using it for about 40 minutes now, I am already finding this very useful. Not necessarily for injecting a fresh whirl of Polish vocabulary into my brain, but rather, this is showing me how much the other tools have taught me. Whenever she says something that was covered in one of my Rosetta Stone lessons I can immediately recall it without waiting for the English translation. However, for things learned from the Polish phrasebook I have trouble distinguishing them right away, and am only able to recall after the English version is presented to me.

This is a clear testament to the effectiveness of the Rosetta Stone software package, and a real kick in the butt to start using it every night again. Babcia is coming in 2 months so it’s time to put together an intensive immersion game plan and get going full force with this!

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