The 16th annual Union Square Holiday Market--which opens from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve---is the perfect destination for holiday shopping. The maze-like bazaar operated by Urban Space Management has outposts around other major attractions in the city, for example, Columbus Circle. I had been to a couple of the others but I had heard a lot of buzz that the Union Square one was the best of them all. With two of my closest friends we headed to the square to check out the 100 or so merchants there.
We made a bee-line for the booth directly located at the entrance of the market selling apple cider. I love apple cider in part because it’s evocative of my summers spent in Hudson Valley huddled under cozy blankets or making homemade ice cream and jams, but also because it’s just plain tasty. Breezy Orchard Hill and Cider Mill’s version was refuge from the brutal wind. Their selection of enormous gingerbread men and women also looked good, but I was saving myself for the Momofuku Milkbar booth.
A brief synopsis of the holiday shops: the clothing stalls in the market ranged from handmade jewelry, scarves, and mittens, to silkscreened t-shirts and recycled handbags made of bottle caps and candy wrappers. There were also quite a number of food vendors represented. Momofuku Milkbar sold treats like cornflake cookies, there was a cannoli stand with flavors like eggnog and peppermint, and pretzel vendor which sold pretzels oozing with various cheesy combinations. The most popular food stand however, was Waffles & Dinges, rated #1 food truck in America.
Karma Living was by far my favorite booth. It had a similar aesthetic to Anthropologie only the colors were all more vibrant and saturated. Today I’m going back to the market to take a closer look at their beautifully embroidered floral blankets and painted trinkets for my room.
There were a collection of stalls selling Tibetan and Indian-inspired items. At Himalayan Designs, elephant motifs on pillows, wooden boxes, and even “lucky wind chimes” were present throughout, attracting me immediately as elephants are my good luck charm. Going into the Union Square Holiday Market I was expecting to see a lot of Christmas merchandise. But quite a lot of them were atypical of what we traditionally think of as fit for “the holidays.” For example, I purchasaed a hand-woven Ecuadorian bird bag that I'm a bit obsessed with, but not sure if Santa is going to be giving many of those out tonight.
Naturally for lunch my friends and I walked a few short blocks down University Place to the Grey Dog. To describe to The Grey Dog cuisine in short, it’s sort of like what you wish your mom made for you; comfort food with a twist. Between the three of us we ordered gooey grilled swiss and cheddar cheese on challah bread with a side of sweet potato and regular fries and a bowl of vegetarian chili.
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