From around 23rd to 29th streets, between 7th and 9th avenues lies New York City’s wholesale district, where one can find stores upon stores shilling stacks of everything from knock-off purses to rubber duckies and novelty keychains. “It’s not surprising that these things exist,” asks NPR, “but why would you sell all this cheap junk from stores sitting on some of the most expensive real estate in the world?”

Apparently, the wholesalers shuck their wares to vendors all over the world, who’d rather come to the city and buy goods in person than order them online or via mail-order. One Nigerian shopkeeper told reporters that when sending money electronically from her country, it was difficult to know that she’d be getting what she paid for.

But why Manhattan–why not somewhere out in Jersey, where real estate is infinitely cheaper? According to NPR, “the wholesalers fear the African and Latin American customers would never venture out of the city to find them. And so they stay. Better to huddle at the crossroads than to be off alone in the middle of nowhere.”

(Photo: Karen Blumberg/Flickr)