Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Real NYC #24 - Christmas Markets

The Christmas Market is a European tradition that dates back to the 13-14th centuries in what is today Germany. Markets in Europe open with the start of Advent, which begins on the 4th Sunday before Christmas for most Christian sects. These outdoor markets are usually stalls selling traditional food and gift items. The markets often also include a nativity scene, carolers and Christmas trees. More recently cities around the world have begun to set up Christmas markets. In NYC we have several.

Union Square Holiday Market

My favorite Holiday fair is the Union Square Holiday Market. Taking up the southern end of Union Square (along 14th street) This market invites to to slow down an wander through its aisles of stalls. With 300 vendors there is a lot to see. The aisles are a little tight, especially on a weekend when it gets crowded.

One vendor I liked was Spices and Tease. Their booth was lined with beautiful bowls of spices and teas. Much like a Middle Eastern bazaar, the spices were out in bowls. Colorful sights and wonderful smells.

Another vendor that caught my eye was Shangrila River. This company sells beautiful one of a kind pieces imported from Asia.

Carolers at the Union Square Market

The Winter Village at Bryant Park

Another big Holiday market is the Winter Village at Bryant Park. This is a much more modern looking market. Vendors are in glassed in stalls, aisles are wide, and the park is filled with tourists.At the center of the market is a skating rink that, on a Saturday afternoon, had a line that snaked through the park.
Juggling class at Bryant Park

Rock and Roll Chorus caroling at Bryant Park

I have been to both of these markets on several occasions over the years and enjoy them both, but Union Square definitely has more of a NYC feel, while Bryant Park feels more commercial and touristy. But next year come and try them both.

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