The Trader

When I was a kid they had such things as ‘Army-Navy Stores’ which were, ostensibly, military surplus outlets. They still have them but now most of the stuff is made in China crap rather than genuine GI stuff. The greatest of these places was a place called The Trader over on Canal St. in Manhattan. It was an old building from the ’20s that was just jam packed with all sortsa gear. Sadly, I discovered that The Trader is no longer in business.

Canal St., by the way, was an awesome collection of stores for above-board and sometimes below-board stuff. Computer geeks were especially drawn to all the electronics surplus that some stores carried. I remember buying stuff t do all sortsa computer-related chaos.

Canal Street was also pretty mucht he place to buy illegal fireworks back in the day. There was nothing subtle about it. Just don’t blow anyone up and everyone pretyy much loked the other way.

After 9/11 The Trader was kind of an everyman’s survival supply. Sure, it was ostensibly a surplus store, but savvy survivalist knew that in all those piles of old Vietnam era flight suits, German ponchos, and surplus wool socks, there were a few things that could be useful for when the end of the world came.

I’ve linked to this article in the past, but it really is worth a repost…especially now that The Trader appears* to have gone the way of other great hole-in-the-wall specialty shops that used to populate NYC.

Survivor N.Y.C.


* = It appears The Trader is no longer in business. Google Earth shows a new business at the old Trader location on Canal Street.

8 thoughts on “The Trader

  1. I’d like to hear more about you growing up in Brooklyn, New York. You have said very little about it but I think (had to happen some time) a lot of readers would like to hear about a “gun nut survivalist” growing up in New York City in the 80s.

  2. I think Rawles has linked to this before but the Army Surplus Warehouse in Idaho falls is deff worth the trip. The front of the store has some Chinese crap but the farther back you go the better the stuff.

  3. Re: Survivor N.Y.C.

    I guess if it makes them feel better….

    But survival in N.Y.C. after a major collapse, would be like a lamb trying to find solace in a den of wolves.

  4. I miss the old military surplus stores. We had a pretty good one in Pharr Texas (Glick Twins) and though it still exists, the actual military surplus materials is now more often modern reproductions. Some patches of it here and there – I guess it has been absorbed by the general public.

  5. We had a good one in Grandview MO back in the day. Tables of gear – fatigues, packs, jungle boots, jump boots, bazooka tubes, etc. I still have and use gear I bought there for Scout trips 35 – 40 years ago!

  6. Federal Army/Navy Surplus in downtown Seattle on 1st Ave. There used to be a couple of gun shops and a really great sporting goods store down there too. Federal is the last man standing.

  7. There used to be a pretty good one in Lafayette Louisiana, but its been a few years since I have been there. Pretty good stuff though and they had the environment down pat. Exposed wood rafters, concrete floor, homemade wood racks for for their stuff. Even had that familiar ‘Old Canvas – synthetic’ smells down.

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