Oyster Tea Candles by Canal Street Research Association $5 each, half dozen for $30 Canal Street was once an oyster epicenter. Taverns were marked by a bright red balloon to indicate the salacious slurping within. Oysters could be cheaply shucked and devoured streetside, even garnering an all-you-can-eat special for 6 cents called “the Canal Street Plan.” Unregulated street market carts provided some of the only income and affordable foodstuffs for immigrants and the poor, but were considered a scourge by city officials. Street vending became heavily policed and finally outlawed by the 1930s, enabling a system of violent control over the working poor and undocumented immigrant vendor communities that continues on Canal Street to this day. Sensitive yet gritty souls, an oyster’s hard exterior protects a vulnerable and soft interior: the oyster’s response to a foreign intruder is to transform it over time into a pearl.