I recently had the chance to visit the Union Square Holiday Market, one of the markets organized by Urbanspace. Of all of the holiday markets I’ve visited this year, this one is the largest – there are more than 100 vendors in all. There are many New York City-based makers at the Union Square Holiday Market, as well as some really neat items from outside the city as well. This article will focus primarily on the local makers.
Each holiday market I’ve visited has new, unique artists and artisans for me to discover. One of the first stalls I explored at the Union Square Holiday Market was that of Brooklyn-based DeLong Ceramics. Artisan Denise DeLong creates beautiful ceramic tiles and Christmas ornaments, with most having a New York City theme.
I loved this tile. The colors somehow remind me of the city on a rainy evening.
And I also love this one, with its subway setting. (You know me, I can’t resist things that are in some way related to New York City’s public transportation system!)
I also discovered Insiders1, a Brooklyn-based company that creates bags and accessories incorporating urban photography. If you are looking for a creative gift with iconic New York images, Insiders1 is a great place to start.
Citybitz also draws from New York City for design inspiration, as well as materials in some circumstances. Owner and designer Joan Huggard combines metal, glass, resin, photography, and other materials to create classic personal accessories such as cuff links, cigarette cases, and flasks. I loved this collection that draws from the iconic Penguin mosaics found in the 5th Ave./59th St. R Station.
Another collection, called Manhattan’s Makeup, also caught my eye. These pieces incorporate rust and paint chips from New York City landmarks, including the Manhattan Bridge and the 2nd Avenue Subway Station. The colors are vibrant, just as the city is.
I was enchanted by the cloth dolls of Hazel Village. Made of organic cotton, each doll is delightful, and you can buy a variety of costumes and outfits to dress them in. These dolls are guaranteed to inspire a child’s imagination.
There was something so special about artist Eve Devore’s owl prints. Her business card asks, “Curious what you would look like as an owl?” The prints are colorful, magical, and full of imagination.
I love this Empire Owl:
And I’ve decided that this is how I would look as an owl. This is Java Bean Owl:
Even though I was looking primarily for makers based in New York City, I couldn’t resist the special, whimsical poem mobiles of poziepoems. But although poziepoems’ owners now live in South Africa, they started their business when they were living in New York City, so they still fit my overall theme. Each poem extends over several pieces of wood, descending one from the other. The poem changes as the breeze causes the pieces to turn, as alternative words and phrases are on the other side. They’re such a unique gift idea, and I fell in love with them immediately.
One of the things that makes the Union Square Holiday Market fun is that its location attracts musicians as well, like the one in this photo:
And if you get hungry or thirsty as you shop, there are plenty of food and drink options available as well. I had a luxurious cup of hot chocolate from Brooklyn chocolatier Nunu Chocolates. Yum! (Their salt caramels would make a good stocking stuffer, by the way.)
As the sun went down, I sampled a Belgian waffle from Wafels & Dinges – it was also delicious!
How can you get to the Union Square Holiday Market? The easiest way to get to the market is by subway. Take the L, N, Q, R, 4, 5, or 6 train to the 14 Street/Union Square station.