Visiting NYC During the Holiday Season: Exploring, Shopping, and Sightseeing- Itineraries for Two and Five Days

When I returned to New York as an adult, a new friend and co-worker said to me, "New York City around the holidays is absolutely magical. The lights, the store windows, the snow - it is all so exciting! Then January and February hit and you wish all the snow and cold would disappear!" As a native, and now, seasoned New Yorker, I couldn't agree more with her statement.

With the Thanksgiving holiday, New York turns into a snow globe of magic. If it snows, even more so. People bundled up and sloshing around make for a quiet and pretty New York City experience. Sure, people are still as feisty as ever, it is the holiday season after all, and shopping can be overwhelming even for those prepared with lists and gifts already purchased, but there is an overall sense of happiness and delight that comes with interacting with strangers.

The holiday season is also the busiest for New York City travel wise. Many visitors from around the world come to experience all that New York offers during the season including the endless shopping. EtsyNY team members know all about the shopping season, as they're currently and hurriedly making and packing goods for upcoming markets. 

In preparation for the season upon us, I've put together a list, with the help of native New Yorkers and current residents, of what is considered "must do/see" when visiting New York in December depending on a two-day/weekend or a full five-day/week schedule.

Two Days in NY: Holiday Windows + Handmade Markets at Bryant Park and Union Square + Rockerfeller Center

1. You definitely want to see the windows of Macy's at 34th Street and Lord & Taylor at 5th Ave. Both are gorgeous displays of holiday merriment.

2. If you're looking for unique and special gifts for the holidays, you want to make sure you visit the holiday markets set up at Bryant Park at 42nd and 5th Ave (on the map in point 3) and Union Square* at 14th Street. There are a few more open holiday markets such as Columbus Circle (no map available), but, these two I can confirm definitely have EtsyNY Team members selling their handmade and locally made wares.

If you're visiting Union Square, I highly, and I mean highly, recommend you stop at The City Bakery on 18th between 5th and 6th Avenues. They have some of the most decadent hot chocolate in the world. They also have these amazing homemade marshmallows that slowly melt by the temperature of the hot chocolate. YUM! As you're walking along this tour, you'll be glad to have one! 

Note on this map that Chelsea Market, which is hosting our annual Handmade Cavalcade, is listed on here and is the main focus on this map. Our Handmade Cavalcade is detailed below in the five day/week long schedule.

Note on this map that Chelsea Market, which is hosting our annual Handmade Cavalcade, is listed on here and is the main focus on this map. Our Handmade Cavalcade is detailed below in the five day/week long schedule.

3. Last, but not least, you'd have to see 42nd Street, or Times Square. Minutes away from there is Bryant Park, which is listed as a place to shop at their open holiday market; Grand Central Terminal, which is a beautiful building and also has trains to points North by way of Metro North; Rockerfeller Center, which has their famous Christmas Tree; and Radio City Music Hall, which currently has the Rockettes Holiday Show, "Christmas Spectacular" performing and is a must see.

Five Days in NY:  Holiday Windows + Handmade Markets at Bryant Park and Union Square + Rockerfeller Center + NY Botanical Garden Annual Train Show + Christmas Lights in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

1 - 3.  See the three maps above and check out all of those options, as they're within walking distance from each other.

4. If you have a couple of hours to spend walking the grounds of the New York Botanical Garden, I recommend it. Currently, the annual Train Show (celebrating its 25th year!) is on display and it is perfect for children and adults! The trains have history and, as is New York City, are always evolving. I suggest you add this to your visit to Grand Central Terminal. You can purchase a ticket upon arrival, or on MTA's website to take the Metro-North Harlem local line to Botanical Garden Station.  It's a 20-minute train ride. The main entrance is across the street from the train station. You can't miss it!

Note: Almost directly across from the NY Botanical Garden is the Bronx Zoo. I'm not sure what they have on display for the Holidays, but if you're up there, you might want to make a full day and visit both locations. Remember, they're both large and you'll want to map your day accordingly if you do both.

Note: Almost directly across from the NY Botanical Garden is the Bronx Zoo. I'm not sure what they have on display for the Holidays, but if you're up there, you might want to make a full day and visit both locations. Remember, they're both large and you'll want to map your day accordingly if you do both.

5. Take a tour of the houses with Christmas light displays in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn! This is another option that requires some time and should be done in the evening. The lights go on at dark, around 5pm and stay on until around 9pm, give or take. The lights are definitely worth seeing around mid-December, if you can trek out to Dyker Heights. When I visited a few years ago, I did a bus tour through A Slice of Brooklyn that ran 3.5 hours, met at Union Square, and had a cannoli and coffee stop at the end. Their website (link above) has all details, including how to purchase tickets. Well worth the money in my opinion!

If you're not interested in spending that kind of money, you can take the subway to Dyker Heights, averaging around an hour each way and walk around the houses. There are some hills, so if you go the walking way, don't complain that you were not warned! Also, depending on when you go, it may be really cold, so you'll want to be bundled warmly if walking around.  Free Tours by Foot has some great instructions on how to best get there, along with streets and houses you want to make sure you see.

Note: Brooklyn is not scaled and therefore is not accurate. It should be wider.

Note: Brooklyn is not scaled and therefore is not accurate. It should be wider.

4. Last, but not least, you should head over to Chelsea Market. It's an institution and the High Line Park is around the corner. It has delicious eats and some great shops and most importantly, it will have the EtsyNY team Holiday Handmade Cavalcade (HHC) for the third year!

This year, the HHC will run for a full week - opening Monday, December 5th and closing on Sunday, December 11th. We are hosting a "Sip 'n' Shop" event on Thursday, December 8th between the hours of 6:30pm and 9:00pm. The event is sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery and will have alcoholic beverages for you to drink while shopping. The Handmade Holiday Cavalcade is a sought after event and we highly recommend RSVPing ahead of time for both the Cavalcade and the Sip 'n' Shop event. Shoppers without an RSVP will be charged $2.00 at the door.

If your holiday travels bring you to NYC at any time through the holiday season, we welcome you! Not to mention, you have a few ideas on how to spend your time. We hope you'll enjoy them, if you do decide to use these suggested schedules.

If you happen upon our glorious City during December 5th-11th, we hope you'll find your way into Chelsea Market and into the doors of our Handmade Holiday Cavalcade, leaving you with everlasting treasures from your holiday visit.

Happy Holidays!

Sara Stroman

Sara is a stationery maker and paper lover and runs S2 Stationery & Design. Since the young age of seven, she loved grabbing handfuls of deposit slips from banks and using the carbon copy paper to trace designs. In 2012, she traveled to Echizen, Japan to learn paper making from well known paper makers in the community with the blessing of their paper goddess. She also loves to travel and as you can see, doodling maps not set to scale.

Six Years of Tradition + Handmade Shopping - Celebrating Etsy NY's Holiday Handmade Cavalcade

Some would say they can hear elves hammering away finishing up last minute gifts to be added to the bags Santa will carry on his sleigh from the North Pole to good boys and girls.  Others, might say those hammers are in fact being used by local New York artisans and crafters who sell on the handmade market place, as they finish up one-of-kind products to sell at the upcoming Etsy New York's Holiday Handmade Cavalcade.

The Etsy New York Holiday Handmade Cavalcade has six years worth of history, and has become a must for holiday shoppers looking for unique and locally crafted gifts to give their loved ones.  Featuring more than 40 vendors and team members of from the Etsy NY Team and showcasing one-of-a-kind goods ranging from handmade clothing, jewelry, accessories, paper goods, bath and body products, toys and housewares.

“What originally started as a chat at the Brooklyn Flea in 2008, because we could potentially have access to John and Kristie's, of Beacons Bookmarks, wood shop, grew into a whole group of artists and NY Etsy vendors rallying together to share cars and band together to promote and organize a DIY event that showcased the mission of Etsy.  It's always amazing how access to one key resource can be a game changer” says Kimm Alfonso, Founder of Etsy NY. "We decided we'd test out our event hosting skills here and thus the Cavalcade was born, with amazing graphics that showed cars loaded with craft supplies headed up to Beacon, NY."

The graphic created for the first Handmade Cavalcade in 2008.

"The holiday event was the big one, where we felt we had a smaller successful event under our belts and could really be successful in NYC.  Similarly, we had access to an amazing space for free/low fees and would have to DIY everything, which was right up our alley," says Alfonso.

Etsy NY team member, Jenny Topolski of J. Topolski Design, remembers her Cavalcade experiences. "When I first joined the team a million years ago, I wanted to get more involved and meet the other members, so I signed up for the Cavalcade. The last one I sold at was held at Public Assembly, but I've always loved the feeling of team-spirit and that the artists collectively work together to create an event that is inclusive not just to them, but neighborhood and customers."

The Holiday Handmade Cavalcade hosts more than 2,000 people each year and has become a New York City winter tradition for those looking for local and unexpected holiday products.  "Now, six years later, the Cavalcade has grown and changed to reflect the amazing talents and resources of the present team providing an organic feeling also aligned with the mission of the original Calvacade vendors and of the expanding network of artists and Etsy sellers in the Tri-State area,” says Kimm.  

In addition to the high-quality, handmade wares for sale, visitors will have the opportunity to interact with our event sponsors, including Etsy, Lion Brand Yarns, Yelp, Zipcar, Purl Soho, and more, and mingle with local artisans over delectable treats and cocktails and/or beer provided by Brooklyn Brewery. 

Admission to this indie shopping event is free. The first 100 guests both Saturday and Sunday will receive a complimentary gift bag filled with wonderful treasures donated by The the Etsy NY team Team and the event sponsors.  Below are some pictures of the gift bags

Additionally, with each purchase at the event, shoppers will be entered into a raffle for one of four amazing goody bags of handmade items and let's not forget the currently open rafflecopter raffle through the Etsy New York Facebook Page.  Below are some pictures of some of the wonderful handmade goodies that lucky raffle participants will have a chance to take home with them. 

For more information on this exciting holiday event, visit . I hope to see all, or some of you there.  And if not, well, you can do some shopping online via with the list of vendors (I'll be there!) on the Handmade Cavalcade's site.

Happy Holidays, shopping, and thank you for supporting Etsy New York events and artists all these years!

//Sara Stroman 

S2 Stationery & Design // Sara Stroman S2 Stationery & Design

Great Gifts for $25 or Less

I hear many of my friends saying "I'd like to get something really unique for my Mom (Dad, Aunt....) but I am on a tight budget this year."   Finding that unique and one-of-a-kind gift does not mean you have to break the bank, in fact you can find many wonderful gift ideas for less than $25 in the Etsy shops of The {NewNew} team.  Plus, when you buy your gifts at an Etsy shop you are supporting the efforts of independent artisans, designers and crafters.

Head on over to our Gifts Under $25 Etsy Treasury to find out more about these items and the shops they are from.  If you are in the New York area you'll find all these shops (and more) at the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade on December 3rd.  Over 35 local artists, designers and crafters will be at the Cavalcade for your shopping delight.  We'll be at Public Assembly, 70 N. 6th Street in Brooklyn from 10 - 6 on December 3rd.

Hope to see you on December 3rd.
Holly / Ellis Designs

Handmade Gifts for Teachers

Only a couple more weeks before the 3rd Annual Holiday Handmade Cavalcade, and as you put together your shopping lists don't forget some of the most important people in your child's life... teachers! My daughter just started preschool this year, so I'm searching for some handmade gifts that will show her teachers how wonderful I think they are. Here are some things that I am eyeing...

Jody's beautiful lamp work creates wonderful swirls of color that is sure to please the most cheerful preschool teacher.

Teachers are experts at making something incredible out of recycled materials. How better to acknowledge their resourcefulness than this beautiful handbag made out of a tie?

Colony Collapse Read Bee Necklace by JTopolski
Science teachers are sure to love this colony collapse necklace, not only stylish but educational.

Vintage 1960s Dress Pattern by luckx4
This fun dress pattern is a perfect gift for that fashionable teacher.

We Move Mountains Print by VirginiaKraljevic
Remind your teacher of just how valuable they are with this original print.
Eco Friendly Hemp Blend and Leather Handle Tote Bag by SansMap
Give your teacher the gift of a sophisticated and practical bag! Perfect for toting around graded papers and lessons in style.

The gift ideas don't end there. For more ideas before the big shopping day, check out the vendor page of the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade website. You'll be inspired!


Gift Giving from 2010

I'm not one to brag. It has been ingrained in my brain from my Chinese ancestry that bragging is off limits. But in this case, I just can't help myself.

My one bragging allowance is that I am an excellent gift giver. And this Christmas, I gave some awesome gifts. Thankfully, the gift giving was particularly easy this year given that the {NewNew} was in fine form, providing me with a great variety of amazing handmade goods to choose from.

The first gift I gave this season was a pair of beautifully made gold key cutout earrings from Lingua Nigra, which I gave to my best friend. You can see them peeking through as she snuggles with my daughter.

Every year I pick up a pack of notecards from Blue Stitch Books, which are great when writing thank you notes!

My dear friend from high school is now currently working on her dissertation at U.C. Berkeley, so I picked out this sweet print from Virginia Kraljevic, framed it, and mailed it off to her. It's now sitting on her desk so she can see it when she writes.

And for my dissertation-writing-friend's mom, I've been sending her these seasonal tea towels from Claudia Pearson all year and "winter" was the last one to complete her collection.

I sent a couple of these lavender soaps from Nordea Soaperie to my godmother, who absolutely loves this scent!

And for a few of my friends and my sister-in-law, I picked out an assortment of lovely earrings from Wish By Felicity.
And lastly, I always reward myself with a couple of gifts for myself for surviving the busy selling season. Every year at the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade I treat myself to one of Better Than Jam's gorgeous dresses.

And to top it off, I purchased a beautifully sewn hat from Rocks and Salt. (And my daughter is wearing a Rocks and Salt hat that I purchased from them about five years ago! She loves it!)

I'm looking forward to 2011 as I become acquainted with new designers and their products, so I can get ideas for the next holiday season!


A Handmade Holiday for Him ... Happy Shopping For You

Finding that "just right" gift for the hard to buy for man in your life has driven more than one of us to drown our despair in a Nathan's Famous, a Cinnabon and Auntie Annies in one sitting at the mall food court.  This year let The {NewNew} guide to shopping lead you (and your waistline) to a better way.  The Handmade and Happy way.  The designers of The {NewNew} have plenty of fabulous ideas for the men in your life:
Visit the Etsy Treasury for details on each of these items
So even when it comes to shopping for those persnikity fellows - you can avoid the holiday crush of the mall and the shopping despair that drives you straight to the food court.
Have a Happy Handmade Holiday!

Holiday Gift Guide from the {NewNew}

Nothing says happyholidays-happybirthday-happyhanukkah-merrychristmas-happynewyear-iloveyou like a good, old fashioned piece of paper. Somehow, now matter how hard you try, the absurd graphics of e-cards, the strange language of texting, or an update on Facebook doesn't cut it when you're trying to make an impression. This year at the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade at OpenHOUSE Gallery in Nolita, New York, over forty designers will be selling perfect gifts for every occasion. In particular, the artisans doing their work on paper are exceptional. Be sure to come on by on Sunday, December 5th to see these beautiful paper products for yourself!

More fantastic products will be available at the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade, so keep checking back between now and December 5th for more product and artisan features!


Holiday Gift Guide from the {NewNew}

As our mailboxes get inundated with all sorts of circulars and holiday catalogues, you might be concerned that your only options for gift giving include a deviled egg plate with painted holly on it or a plastic napkin holder. For a truly special, unique gifts, you cannot go wrong if you shop with the {NewNew}. And for the third year in a row, you can see your favorite New York City artisans in person at the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade!

This year we'll be at Open House Gallery in Nolita. The selection of wonderful handmade goodies has never been better! Here are some teasers to whet your appetite...

Happy holiday shopping!


Where to Find the {NewNew} December 5 + 6

The big event this weekend, which we have all been waiting for, is the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade! With over 50 Metro New York artists, designers, and crafters bringing their handmade creations together for this one-day shopping event, this year promises to be even more fun and exciting than the last. Be sure to enter our free raffle for a chance to win some creations from participating vendors, packed up in hand-embellished tote bags. Raffle tickets are free with each purchase, so the more you shop, the more chances you have to win.... So join us for some holiday cheer in our handmade shopping wonderland. Spread the word, tell your friends, and we'll see you there!
Location: Openhouse Gallery, 201 Mulberry Street. Saturday, 11am-8pm.

In addition to the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade tomorrow, you can find the {NewNew} at the following venues throughout the city:

WabisabiBrooklyn is back at the Brooklyn Indie Market both Saturday and Sunday. Stop by this friendly Carroll Gardens stomping ground and check out many amazing emerging designers!
Location: Red and white tent at Smith and Carroll Streets, Brooklyn. Saturday & Sunday, 11am - 7pm.

The annual BUST Holiday Craftacular is back again! It's an all day shopping and music extravaganza featuring the nation's hottest DIY talent. Over 200 crafty vendors will be present, including {NewNew} artisans Pulpsushi, BeaconBookmarks, Cakehouse, Nordea Soaperie, The Hand of Fatima, Charlie And Sarah, Wabisabi Brooklyn, Blue Stitch Books, Stereoette, Jantar.
Location: Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, NYC. Sunday, 10am - 7:30pm.

MayLuk will be selling her beautiful ceramic wares at The (Makers) Market at the (OA) Can Factory in Gowanus, Brooklyn this Sunday. Check out this bi-monthly market for great handmade finds.
Location: 232 Third Street at Third Avenue in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Sunday, 11am - 6pm.

See you at the Cavalcade!


5 vendors to see at the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade

With 25 new vendors to the Handmade Cavalcade fairs here are some newbies to check out:1. Claudia Pearson - a graphic designer focusing on illustration and working in various mediums, from custom portraits, limited edition prints, silkscreen tea towels, bags cards and apparently everything else she can get her hands on to express her creative talent!

2. McFlashPants - is a collection of jewelry and small housewares made almost entirely from reused, renewed, repurposed, recycled, and reinvigorated materials - gotta love that - and who would have thought a fork would make such a fetching necklace!
3. Can't Afford 'em Crafts - with a focus on recycled, eco-friendly, and handmade, Can't Afford 'em Crafts - uses comics books and even old atari cartridges to make wall and desk clocks as well as journals from upcycled children's books.4. Little Bunny - creating unique greeting cards and prints from her fine line illustrations of everything from this well rendered shark to a mythical Grimpoteuthis that's right, i said Grimpoteuthis . You'll have to see one for yourself.
5. Luis Fernando Jewelry - Luis Quintero uses the fine craft of filigree to create wearable art with gemstones and delicate wire work. Each piece combines traditional techniques, high-quality craftsmanship and a timeless elegance.

Come check out some of these new artists and many many more at rhe 2nd Annual Holiday Handmade Cavalcade this Saturday, Dec 5, from 11 to 8pm at 201 Mulberry Street