Holiday markets offer economic boost to local businesses

Caryl Anne Francia, Business Editor

New York City is in the holiday spirit with winter markets up, to usher in the shopping season in some of the city’s popular neighborhoods.

While small businesses remain wary of rising expenses due to inflation and less revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, shoppers’ attendance at open-air winter markets will give these businesses exposure in addition to more sales.

Despite generally lower levels of tourism compared to 2019, NYC & Company expected the year to close with a 30% increase in tourists from last year. The marketing organization said 56.4 million people will visit New York by December’s end.

Urbanspace runs the holiday markets in Brooklyn Borough Hall, Bryant Park, Columbus Circle and Union Square. The city space development company provides rentable spaces for vendors.

“We’ve received more applications than ever before, and that tells us vendors are excited to be back in the pop-up game,” Urbanspace’s Pop-up Markets Director Evan Shelton told the Associated Press, adding that he is optimistic since more people are visiting the shops.

The Ticker rounded up three winter markets near Baruch College, so students can check out handmade gifts and artisan products made by local businesses in Manhattan.

1.  Union Square Holiday Market

Just seven blocks south of the Lawrence & Eris Field Building, Union Square may have the closest holiday market within walking distance from campus.

The Union Square Holiday Market features 185 vendors this year. It is open at full capacity, up from 80% in 2021.

“We are looking forward to welcoming back holiday shoppers for yet another year of cherished holiday memories with family and friends,” Jennifer Falk, the executive director of the Union Square Partnership, told Forbes.

Shops open at 11 a.m. on most days except Saturdays, in which they open at 10 a.m. The market closes at 8 p.m. every day except Sunday, when it shuts down at 7 p.m.

The market will close Dec. 24.

2.  Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

The Winter Village at Bryant Park features 170 vendors to shop from, in addition to four businesses stationed at the park permanently.

The village is open at full capacity for a second consecutive year. Sallie Austin Gonzales, CEO of the upstate New York-based soap company SallyeAnder, is back for a second year, too

“It’s definitely been busier than last year,” Austin Gonzales told the Associated Press. “People are taking advantage of being a part of society again and walking around.”

In addition to the vendors, the Winter Village invites visitors to skate on its ice rink for free. Sessions are limited to 55 minutes. Time slots for skating may be reserved online.

Visitors may bring their own skates. The village also rents out skates for as low as $15. It offers a 10% discount for purchases made with a card issued by Bank of America Corp., which is a sponsor.

Shops are open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Monday to Wednesday. They open at 10 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. from Thursday to Sunday.

The village will close on March 5, 2023.

3.  Grand Central Holiday Fair

Just a ride on the 6 train away from Baruch, the Grand Central Holiday Fair features 36 artisan vendors in Vanderbilt Hall.

“We are thrilled to bring back this enjoyable New York holiday tradition, which showcases the skilled craftsmanship of local vendors and is a sign of New York’s continuing retail recovery,” Catherine Rinaldi, who is president of Metro-North Railroad, told amNY.

Not run by Urbanspace, the fair is sponsored by stationery company American Greetings and SL Green Realty Corp.

The fair opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. on most days except Sunday, when it opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m.

The fair will close on Dec. 24.