This signifies the demise, for industrial design students at Pratt Institute in particular, of Canal Street as a destination for supplies; in the '90s we'd travel to Industrial Plastics on Canal & Greene, Space Surplus Metals around the corner on Church, and cap it off with a trip to Pearl for everything the prior two stores didn't have. Now all three outfits are gone.
Longtime Pearl patrons will remember the 12,000 square feet of art supplies spread over five floors, the endless stairs, the knowledgeable movie-extra-New-Yorker clerks who knew exactly which shelf the 0.3mm Rapidographs, vellum rolls and wire clay modeling tools were located on. But in the past decade the store had grown into a shadow of its former self, with stock steadily dwindling down and a failed drafting furniture annex dying out. For NYC design school grads who often attended our first job interviews carrying work in portfolio cases purchased from Pearl, it was a depressing sight.
While the next generation of New York's art students no longer have much reason to travel to Canal, those that do will find a newish Utrecht art supply store on nearby Lafayette & Howard taking up Pearl's slack. The selection is comprehensive if smaller, and at just one level there's little danger you'll topple down a staircase and break your ArtBin.