Now in its eighteenth year, the Union Square Holiday Market opened yesterday–a week before Black Friday. The “Christmas episode” of the year-round Greenmarket features wares from local knickknackeries. Neighborhood fixtures like Wafels and Dinges are there, as are unusual businesses like the one specializing in alpaca hats, which look super warm. Unlike a lot of other open-air markets, this one actually sells original merchandise–you won’t see seven kiosks selling identical Christmas tree tchotchkes (but rest assured, there are many Christmas tree tchotchkes).
Businesses apply in the summer, according to information booth operator Liz Reese, and they are selected based on the quality of merchandise and display. The operators make sure there’s a variety in both prices and merchandise, and they pack more than a hundred stores into a little less than a quarter of the park. It’s still Union Square, so you get the local crazies spouting their wares, so to speak, next to the dozens of fragrant kiosks. Foodstuffs lean something on the boutique-y side of prices (for $4.75, it better be a pretty damn good gingerbread cookie), but the bright side is that the entire park smells like cinnamon and, well, Christmas!
We couldn’t find a directory in the market–though we overheard Reese saying they would be available sometime in the next two weeks–so you’ll just have to go down and check out the hundreds of kiosks for yourself. (Did we mention the park smells like cinnamon?) The market is located on the south side of the park, and is open weekdays from 11 AM to 8 PM, Saturdays from 10 AM to 8 PM, and Sundays from 11 AM to 7 PM (closed Thanksgiving Day).