For 58-year-old Chinese immigrant Eva Sam—or A$AP Eva, as she’s known to friends and regulars at her Canal Street jewelry store Popular Jewelry—all her biggest life events are intrinsically tied to rapper’s birthdays. “I opened this store on October 3, 1988, the same day as A$AP Rocky’s birthday,” Sam tells me, beaming. “He was born the same day, the same year.” Rocky shot a portion of his “Fukk Sleep” video at the store, which is sandwiched by souvenir shops and hidden under a yellow awning at 255 Canal Street—serendipitously around the corner from Howard Street, aka “Clout Alley.”
Again, when her store caught fire in early 2014 and nearly burnt down, it reopened on Nov. 6th, the same day as Chinese rapper and former EXO-member Kris Wu's birthday. “He comes to visit me too,” she adds, gesturing at the collection of photos that wallpaper her fine jewelry outpost.