Monday, November 22, 2010

Oyster Locals: New York's Best Holiday Markets

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for Oyster Locals, a web resource for travelers. Periodically we'll feature content on here that we produced there.

Christmas wreaths

It’s been argued that the preponderance of chain stores --- we’re looking at you, JC Penney, Pottery Barn, and Victoria’s Secret --- have turned the streets of New York City into a giant mall. Escape that “we could be anywhere” feeling by shopping at the unique, holiday craft markets that pop up throughout the boroughs in November and December.

The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park, Now–January 2
While most of us are still sorting Halloween candy into piles, the folks behind the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park have already begun setting up. Open from November 5th to January 2nd , this holiday market features 120 vendors packed around the New York Public Library. After loading up on kettle corn and throw pillows, leather goods and handmade earrings, you can go ice-skating for free at Citi Pond. Then treat yourself to a hot drink from Big Apple Cider.

Bryant Park is located between 40th and 42nd Streets at Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Stay nearby at the Bryant Park Hotel New York City.

Union Square Holiday Market, Now–Christmas Eve
Beginning on November 19, Union Square transforms into a holiday shopping spectacular. Artisans from all over sell their wares in red-and-white striped tents until December 24. In past years, we’ve bought tiny picture frames, handmade journals, funky asymmetrical necklaces, multicolored candles, and perfumy lotions for stepmothers, bosses, and our brothers’ impossible-to-shop-for-wives and girlfriends. For the first time ever, the market has an on-site concierge, who’ll help you pick out perfect gifts of your own.

Union Square is located between 14th and 17th Streets at Union Square West and Union Square East.  The W New York is on the park’s northeast corner.

Queens County Farm, December 1–24
Throughout December, the only working historical farm in New York City sells Christmas trees large and small, poinsettias, and wreaths, with profits going toward feeding the livestock on site as well as maintaining the property, first settled in 1697. On December 4 and 5, the Queens County Farm will also be hosting a make-your-own-evergreen-wreath extravaganza ($20 per person, registration and garden shears required: 718.347.3276, ext 301). Its Open House, December 26–28, features activities for kids and walks around the wintry land, guaranteed to banish any post-Christmas blues.

The farm is located at 73-50 Little Neck Parkway. Stay at the Hotel Pennsylvania New York City, across the street from Penn Station, where you can take the E or F train to Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike Station, a few blocks away.

3rd Ward Holiday Craft Fair, December 4
3rd Ward, in East Williamsburg, offers classes in everything from welding to glass beadmaking to screen printing. At the Holiday Craft Fair on December 4, you’ll be able to pick up handmade, one-of-a-kind goods. No cookie cutter gifts here, although you’ll probably be able to find cookie cutters in crazy shapes, as well as housewares, clothes, jewelry, and toys --- being sold by the folks who made them. In addition, Brooklyn’s premier craftopia will also have workshops in sewing, flocking, and printmaking, along with live music and cocktails made from Red Jacket Orchards’  produce. You might as well RSVP now.

3rd Ward is located at 195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn. Stay at the Maritime Hotel New York City and take the L train to Grand Street, a few blocks away.

Handmade Cavalcade, December 5
A while back, a group of Etsy crafsters based in the tri-state area got together and formed The {NewNew}, an indie collective whose members share resources and help one another. On December 5, they’ll be hanging out and selling their stuff at OpenHouse Gallery, in Nolita. And by “stuff,” we mean handprinted dresses from Better than Jam, cute kids clothes from Overall Baby, whimsical prints from My Zoetrope, or mash-up jewelry from Elle F. Bijoux. Etsy is awesome, but there’s really nothing like shaking the hand of the person who made your legwarmers or the man-purse you’ll be giving your fella for Hannukah.

OpenHouse Gallery is located at 201 Mulberry Street. Stay at the Thompson LES New York City and walk.

Gifted, December 15–23
Simply put: you can’t get more indie than Gifted. A partnership between Brooklyn Flea and uber-popular design*sponge, everything on sale here will be as aesthetically pleasing as it is custom-designed and handcrafted from more than 100 vendors. It’s a three-floor, craftastic craftacular! Look for mini-goodies from Kumquat Cupcakery, t-shirts from Species by the Thousands, stuffed animals and objects by Kate Durkin, and pickled veggies from Rick’s Picks.

Gifted is located at 1 Hanson Place, Brooklyn. Stay at the Nu Hotel Brooklyn and walk, although you might be too loaded down with packages to walk back.


Supergreensunbear said...

I wish we'd have had chance to go to a few of these on our recent visit - the Handmade Cavalcade sounds like something we would have enjoyed.

We did get to one on your list, we visited Bryant Park and it was great to walk around and take in the sights, we were mesmerised by the spinning decorations and the personalisable baubles. Saying that though, the prices of many of the stalls seemed a little on the steep side even if there was lots we were eyeing up (and wondering how to fit it all in the suitcase).

Another festive market we bumped into was being held in Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station, again the prices were a bit much but there were some cool things and well worth a wander around if you happen to be down that way.

Jess and Garrett said...

Thanks for reading! You're right that the markets, while fabulous, can be quite pricey. Another one we're looking forward to is the Bust Magazine Craftacular, Dec 12.

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