Shop Hopping

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centralChristmas shopping in New York is a bitch–there’s so much, and it’s so expensive, and expectations of wonderful gifts from the Big City are so high that it’s tempting just to throw in the towel altogether. Christmas shops, then, can furnish a partial solution to the problem of finding ten things for ten people in the waning hours before your plane/train/parent’s Subaru departs. And even if you’re not out to buy, the seasonal clusters of small businesses that set up shop at Columbus Circle, Bryant Park, and Union Square every December are worth a gander for their wondrous wares. 

ladiesColumbus Circle – 59th and Central Park West

central park This open-air smorgasord of jewelry, apparel, and other sundries may be overpriced, but it’s a bargain compared to the sticker shockers across the street in Time Warner Center. With the Park next door and the narrow, curved aisles, it feels a bit like a labyrinthine mountain village. This year there is a disappointing lack of food samples.

mountiesBryant Park – 42nd and 6th Avenue 

Moving south, you might choose instead to visit the shops at Bryant Park, a collection of little glass houses that make the Central Park bazaar look comparatively bohemian. Making no concessions to the season, these semi-permanent structures will keep you warm while you browse their semi-precious (and fully precious) offerings. Bryant Park, however, may be worth the trip just for the sideshow: a crowded skating rink, complete with an on-ice putting contest sponsored by the great nation of Canada, with a 20-carat diamond as the prize.

Not to mention the excellent bathroom facilities, and the Darth Vader made of gadgets. 

darth vader

union sqaureUnion Square – 14th and Broadway

If the shops at Union Square are your third stop, you’ll have noticed by now that the New York Christmas fairs actually have all the same stuff. But here, you can also register to vote, sign a petition, and load up on organic veggies at the year-round greenmarket while you fill your stockings.


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  1. hehe  

    there is also the most overpriced vendor fair located in vanderbilt hall at grand central station...mikimoto pearls has a stand. yeah. :)

  2. equal celebration  

    where are the christmas decorations bwog? can't you change the o into a wreath or something?

  3. sorry  

    I think that level of skill is attainable only by google

  4. yowza  

    a youtube video of lion drawings? thank you, alumni association.

  5. timesreader  

    This article is completely ripped-off an identical piece from the New York Times. Get some original material BWOG!

  6. hmm

    there are slight twists to the stuff on offer at each. the dead sea soap sold in bryant park is higher quality (and more expensive) than its union square counterpart. the israeli woman waiting to demonstrate by rubbing your hands with it is more beautiful in bryant park to boot...

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