If the holiday commercial bonanza gets you down, check out five of the city’s offbeat seasonal markets for a range of gifts from standard to singular, and vintage to voguish.
The Grand Central Holiday Fair
The Grand Central Holiday Fair, the longest-running indoor holiday market in the city, was recently redesigned in Grand Central Terminal, the majestic Beaux-Arts masterpiece, with painted constellations on the ceiling and a giant Christmas tree. Shoppers can meet 40 carefully curated vendors selling artwork, accessories, home goods, toys, jewelry, bath and body products, apparel and more. The focus is handcrafted and American-made products with locally sourced materials or a socially conscious business model. The market opens Nov. 13 and closes Dec. 24 at Grand Central, 89 E. 42nd St. Call 212-340-2345 or visit grandcentralterminal.com.
Hundreds of custom-designed “jewel box” kiosks nestled among the towering London plane trees give the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park a European ambience. Offerings include locally produced clothing, jewelry, unique decorative goods, artisanal cuisine and more. The Holiday Shops are part of Winter Village, which hosts New York City’s only free admission ice skating on a 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink, along with Danny Meyer’s ringside eatery, Public Fare. Swing by Santa’s Corner and whisper your own gift wishes in the big man’s ear. The market opens Oct. 28 and runs through Jan. 2 at 40th Street and Sixth Avenue. For more, call 212-661-6640 or visit wintervillage.org.
Union Square Holiday Market
The eclectic Union Square Holiday Market, with its unique gifts made by local craftspeople and artists, has been upgraded with new sections like Little Brooklyn and Urbanspace Provisions. Over 200 vendors present a wide-ranging array of products, including jewelry, art, candles, soaps, skin care products, apparel, gourmet pantry items, jams, olive oils, among other items. Snacks offered, such as Persian soup and babka, reflect the market’s international flavor. The market runs Nov. 16-Dec. 24 at Union Square West and 14th Street. For more, call 212-529-9262 or visit urbanspacenyc.com.
Holiday market in Columbus Circle
The holiday market in Columbus Circle offers apparel, artwork, accessories, jewelry, home goods, artisan chocolates, handmade wooden puzzles, funky jams, pastries and more, with a focus on local artisans and designers. The market opens Nov. 28 and closes Christmas Eve at 59th Street and Central Park West. Call 212-529-9262 or visit urbanspacenyc.com.
Astoria Market's holiday market
Astoria Market's holiday market at Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden showcases the artists, bakers and designers of Queens in the main hall of one of the city’s last original beer gardens, built over a century ago by Czech immigrants. Besides the handmade, baked and vintage goods, there are seasonal favorites — eggnog, hot cider and roasted chestnuts — to replenish hardcore shoppers.
The market is open Dec. 3, 10 and 17 at 2919 24th Ave., Astoria, Queens. Visit astoriamarket.com, bohemianhall.com.