Five Good Reasons to Brave the Crowds (And the Crap) at the Union Square Holiday Market  

SSPNY Braves the Crowds at Union Square Holiday Market for Five Good ReasonsSSPNY stops by the most crowded and always consistent pop-up outdoor Holiday Markets, the Union Square Holiday Market this 2012 giving us all 5 good reasons to go

Pop-up outdoor markets are hardly rare these days here in New York City, what with the various Fleas, Fairs and Festivals all summer long and now, as the spirit of giving really kicks into high gear, with the proliferation of Holiday Markets, from admission-required, one-weekend-only shows like Unique NYC in Chelsea and the Bust Craftacular in Soho; to the the ten-year-old Young Designer's Market, now just "The Market NYC" and on Bleecker, not Mulberry. But the biggest, most consistently crowded shopping destinations--loved by tourists; love-hated by locals--are the big three Holiday Markets, in Columbus Circle, in Bryant Park, and the granddaddy of them all, in Union Square. Question is: is there any reason for someone like yourself--savvy, stylish, super New Yorkish--to even bother with the Union Square Holiday Market, 2012 edition? Well, that depends mostly on your gift list, I suppose, but when I wandered the many (many) aisles of the Union Square Holiday Market 2012 on opening day, I found at least five solid excuses to go check it out. For traditions' sake, if nothing else.

SSPNY checks out jewelry at the PeaceBomb booth in Union Square Holiday Market for things simple and elegant like coin wrap bracelets, bangles, and charms all made from actual bomb-scrap giving a portion of each sale back to community 

PeaceBomb
The jewelry at the PeaceBomb booth is simple and elegant: aluminum bangles, coin "warp bracelets", charm necklaces. (Also spoons, but whatever.) But the real appeal here is the back story: each piece is made from actual bomb-scrap from explosives dropped on Laos during America's undeclared "secret war" on that country from 1964-1973. PeaceBomb pays Laotian farmers four times the local market rate for their material, and gives a portion of each sale back to the community, in the form of micro-loans and cleanup funds. PeaceBomb bangles are inscribed with their provenance. Read more about it here; shop for it in Union Square.
 SSPNY also checks out Kristiana Parn's booth who is an Estonian artist working in Brooklyn for these great gift ideas for print, stationary, and cards

Kristiana Parn
These are lots of cute, pastel-y, gifty prints and stationary (mostly card sets) at the of Kristina Parn, an amiable Estonian artist who studied at SVA and is working these days in Brooklyn. Some of Parn's stuff reminded me of the Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara--an opinion seconded by a random other shopper--which is a good thing. You can see her work here.

SSPNY next checks out the Macaron Parlour booth for these French-style pastries to give as a gift or wrap up for yourself. And don't forget to check out their new storefront on St. Marks near Avenue A

Macaron Parlour
There are several tasty delights at the Union Square Holiday Market 2012 (Mayhem and Stout's meat sandwiches, Sonrisa's empanadas, whatever the Taste of Persia guy was cooking that smelled amazing), but I was most excited to see that the great Macaron Parlour is back again this year, peddling their insanely good French-style pastries in flavors traditional (Pistachio, Caramel, Strawberry) and most decidedly NOT (Red Velvet, Peanut Butter Cup, S'Mores, and, most fiendishly delicious, Candied Bacon with Maple Cream Cheese). Grab a couple to eat on the spot; wrap up a six-pack or two for all of your Secret Santa-ish needs. Oh, and definitely visit their spanking-new storefront on St. Marks near Avenue A, because in addition to these awesome macarons, they also offer some of the best cookies AND cinnamon buns in town. See the full menu here.

Also on SSPNY's list of things to check out is Gnome Enterprises, which are commonly at the flea in Williamsburg or Fort Greene and which are handprinted in Brooklyn and are manufactured by the always comfortable Threadless 

Gnome Enterprises
If you've been to the Flea in either Williamsburg or Fort Greene, you know the Gnome, those "handprinted in Brooklyn", cleverly, knowingly wacky t-shirts that would make great gifts for your uncle, your nieces and nephews, your dad, and anyone else who hasn't heard of Threadless, or would get a thrill from a "Brooklyn" branded article of clothing. Cute onesies too! This is your last-minute go-to booth for all the above. Check out some of the Gnome Enterprises designs here.

SSPNY lastly tries out one of the many booths making bags and wallets hosted by Viva Zapata who uses recycled bicycle-tire bags and color-block designs that are 100% vegan, using vinyl instead of leather 

Viva Zapata
There are several nice bag-and-wallet booths at the Union Square Holiday Market 2012--I liked the new recycled-bicycle-tire bags at Zip-It, for example, and United Leather has a wide selection of colorful wallets--but I'm going to give the nod to a long-time favorite of mine, Viva Zapata. I love the Argentinian company's signature color-block designs, and it's nice that their 100% vegan as well; instead of leather, Viva Zapata makes their
stuff out of the same vinyl that covers the seats of the buses of Buenos Aires, los colectivos. See their products here.

The Union Square Holiday Market 2012 is open from Monday to Friday from 11am to 8pm, Saturday from 1pm to 8pm and Sunday from 11am to 7pm, all closing down on December 24th at 4pm 

The Union Square Holiday Market 2012 is open Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., on Saturday from 1);00 to 8:00, and on Sundays from 11:00 to 7:00. The Market closes on December 24 at 4:00 p.m. More general info here.

written on 04/10/2013

Posted in: Gramercy




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