In a huge blow to the underground industry, it just became a lot harder for shoppers with loose morals to score "bargain" handbags in New York.

For many, "bargain" can be code for "counterfeit", and for years, the sale of counterfeit bags was a bustling business in our state. A monumental federal operation, however, may have hobbled the hustle for good.

Canal Street in New York City used to be a hotbed for counterfeit items
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Counterfeit Bags for Sale in New York

Counterfeit bags sales, specifically on Canal Street in New York City (above), might have been the Big Apple's worst-kept secret, with everyone from out-of-state tourists to shrewd Hudson Valley shoppers making the pilgrimage. While major crack-downs in recent years have led to more stealthy practices, a recent billion-dollar bust may be the nail in the coffin.

Nearly 220,000 counterfeit items were seized by authorities in New York
Some of the many items recently seized in the New York bust (US Justice Department)
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Police Make Record-Setting Bust of Counterfeit Goods in New York

While a 2022 sting netted $10 million in counterfeit items in New York City's Chinatown neighborhood, the bust earlier this week was literally one hundred times bigger. Police say over $1 billion worth of counterfeit bags, clothing, and shoes were found in a storage unit in Manhattan. In all, nearly 220,000 items were seized, uncovering what authorities are calling "the largest-ever seizure of counterfeit goods in U.S. history" (below).

Authorities say the estimated retail value of the seized counterfeit items tops $1 billion
Authorities say the estimated retail value of the seized counterfeit items tops $1 billion (US Justice Department)
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The Impact of Buying Counterfeit Items in New York

It may be difficult for some New Yorkers to process their feelings after the recent news. While authorities constantly remind shoppers that selling (or buying) fake goods is a serious offense, for many it feels like a right of passage. It can also be tough to have sympathy for multi-million dollar brands, especially when so many are in the portfolio of the second-richest man in the world.

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While some shoppers may not see the damage done by impacting the sales of a global brand, it's much easier to see the effect of local dollars on small businesses in the Hudson Valley. Check out where New York falls as a haven for local businesses compared to the rest of the country below.

LOOK: States With the Most New Small Businesses Per Capita

To find the top 20 states with the most new small businesses per capita, Simply Business analyzed the Census Bureau’s Business Formation Statistics from August 2020 to July 2021.

Gallery Credit: Eliza Siegel

YUMMY!! Dip Your Donut At Any of these 13 Top Upstate New York Donut Shops

So what is your pleasure? Glazed? Cinnamon? Powdered Sugar? Or do you just revel in the nostalgia of a fresh, hot plain cake donut just like Grandma once made?

In this age of Krispy Kremes and Dunkin' Donuts on every corner in America (it seems) there is something to be said, something to be treasured about a mom-and-pop donut shop that has been around for 25, or even 30 years.

Here is a list of 13 of the best ones in Upstate New York

Gallery Credit: Chuck D'Imperio