Brazen vendors selling knockoff Gucci and Louis Vuitton bags are overrunning ...

Brazen vendors selling knockoff Gucci and Louis Vuitton bags are overrunning ...
Brazen vendors selling knockoff Gucci and Louis Vuitton bags are overrunning ...

Unlicensed vendors selling knockoff Gucci and Louis Vuitton bags have brazenly taken over several streets in Manhattan's Chinatown – no longer afraid of getting busted after the NYPD was recently stripped of its authority to crackdown on their illegal activity.

Locals who've worked in the area for years say they've never seen such a large assembly of unlicensed vendors where a knockoff of an oversized black and white Christian Dior tote sells on the street for $80, just a pittance compared to the retail price of$3,820.

A three-block stretch of Broadway, straddling Canal Street, has been transformed into a no-rent street bazaar, with street peddlers laying out their wares in full public view, while parking their vehicles loaded with backup supplies just around the corner.

'Hello, come here, take this one! Gucci, Gucci!' one of the vendors insisted as he placed a fake leather purse into the arms of a tourist who happened by.

The tourist, visiting New York from Egypt, forced the bag back into the hands of the seller, then walked away.

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'How are they doing this so publicly?' the young man told DailyMail.com, stupefied. 'I came here a couple years ago to buy gifts, and it was nothing like this. They were so discreet.'

Countless unlicensed street vendors have taken over blocks of Manhattan's Chinatown selling knock off designers bags, hats, belts and other accessories

Countless unlicensed street vendors have taken over blocks of Manhattan's Chinatown selling knock off designers bags, hats, belts and other accessories

A map of Manhattan's Chinatown showing a stretch of blocks where illegal goods are being sold on the street

A map of Manhattan's Chinatown showing a stretch of blocks where illegal goods are being sold on the street 

Locals who've worked in the area for years say they've never seen such a large assembly of unlicensed vendors where a knockoff of an oversized black and white Christian Dior tote sells on the street for $80, just a small portion of the retail $3,820

Locals who've worked in the area for years say they've never seen such a large assembly of unlicensed vendors where a knockoff of an oversized black and white Christian Dior tote sells on the street for $80, just a small portion of the retail $3,820

The vendors set up carpets along the west side of Broadway and laid out the bags, hats, belts and sneakers sporting labels such as Prada and Channel, taking up half of the sidewalk

The vendors set up carpets along the west side of Broadway and laid out the bags, hats, belts and sneakers sporting labels such as Prada and Channel, taking up half of the sidewalk

A three-block stretch of Broadway, straddling Canal Street, has been transformed into a no-rent street bazaar, with street peddlers laying out their wares in full public view

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A three-block stretch of Broadway, straddling Canal Street, has been transformed into a no-rent street bazaar, with street peddlers laying out their wares in full public view

On Monday, business was slow in the early afternoon, as the group set up their displays on Broadway. When DailyMail.com approached, they grew testy, then outright hostile

On Monday, business was slow in the early afternoon, as the group set up their displays on Broadway. When DailyMail.com approached, they grew testy, then outright hostile

In the past, police would arrest and fine street vendors, and confiscate their merchandize. The new inspectors have the authority to issue tickets, but not make arrests

In the past, police would arrest and fine street vendors, and confiscate their merchandize. The new inspectors have the authority to issue tickets, but not make arrests

According to locals, the shift started in March when the city's Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) - formerly the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) - took over street vendor enforcement from cops. It was the culmination of calls to limit police oversight after a viral video in 2019 showed officers aggressively handcuffing a subway churro vendor in Brooklyn.

The vendors are no longer required to show their ID under the new leadership.  

'Our officers must be able to focus on the real drivers of crime,' Mayor Bill de Blasio said when he explained the initiative in December 2020. 'Having Department of Consumer and Worker Protection coordinating the City's vending policy and enforcement efforts strikes the right balance as we rethink how law enforcement resources are used in our city. DCWP has a strong record of protecting New Yorkers, and I'm confident they're up to the task.'

The city's new Office of Street Vendor Enforcement spent its first three months 'educating the vending community about their responsibilities,' a spokeswoman told DailyMail.com. Enforcement started in June, but the office did not immediately provide statistics for how many tickets they've issued so far. The spokeswoman stated that 'we continue to explore what enforcement models will be most effective and equitable,' and that the agency is still hiring inspectors. It expects to be fully staffed by September, she noted.

'Our officers must be able to focus on the real drivers of crime,' Mayor Bill de Blasio said when he explained the initiative in December 2020

'Our officers must be able to focus on the real drivers of crime,' Mayor Bill de Blasio said when he explained the initiative in December 2020

In the past, police would arrest and fine street vendors, and confiscate their merchandize. The new inspectors have the authority to issue tickets, but not make arrests.

'The police, they'd come at any time and arrest us, say we're selling bags without a license,' said Kalilou, a 49-year-old vendor from the Central African Republic laying out Gucci bags and wallets on the sidewalk Monday.

But on this day, the vendors had less to fear. Police in patrol cars driving through the area didn't bother stopping, and the city's new civilian inspectors were nowhere to be seen.

Vendors have exploited the void in enforcement.

When DailyMail.com visited Monday, the vendors began to arrive in the early afternoon, some driving there and parking on nearby Howard Street. Men stepped out, opened the trunks and grabbed large black garbage bags filled with merchandize. They set up carpets along the west side of Broadway and laid out the bags, hats, belts and sneakers sporting labels such as Prada and Channel. They took up half of the sidewalk.

'I've had to tell them five times this summer to stop blocking my door,' Gary, 30, manager of the Sacred Tattoo Shop across the street, told DailyMail.com. 'It's the craziest it's ever been. And, not surprisingly, I don't see anyone from Consumer Affairs here.'

Oriana Fernandez, who works at the neighboring PIQ novelty gift shop, agreed the mass gathering represents a big and growing problem.

'It's definitely getting worse,' Fernandez told DailyMail.com. 'They used to occupy just a two-block radius. Now they're taking up three blocks and two avenues.

'I don't see the DCA inspectors,' she observed. 'What we really need here is the police, someone to actually take care of the issue. When the cops came, the vendors would pack up and move along, or they'd get arrested, and their products would get thrown into police vans.'

The vendors parked their vehicles loaded with backup supplies just around the corner as they posted up on the sidewalk

The vendors parked their vehicles loaded with backup supplies just around the corner as they posted up on the sidewalk 

'I've had to tell them five times this summer to stop blocking my door,' Gary, 30, manager of the Sacred Tattoo Shop across the street, told DailyMail.com. 'It's the craziest it's ever been. And, not surprisingly, I don't see anyone from Consumer Affairs here'

'I've had to tell them five times this summer to stop blocking my door,' Gary, 30, manager of the Sacred

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