Holiday Markets in New York

By Go City Expert

Shopping at the holiday markets in New York should be on everyone's holiday must-do list. From soaps to stationery, they're the place to find goodies for just about everyone in your list.

Holiday Shops at Winter Village in Bryant Park

The holiday shops at Bryant Park are on pretty much everyone’s list of must-do holiday experiences in the city. And why not? Inspired by open-air European Crafts fairs, the market features vendors from literally around the world. The little kiosks are like tiny shops, and feature goods ranging from African baskets to one-of-a-kind-jewelry handcrafted in Brooklyn and made from materials like copper and bronze. (Through Dec. 24.)

Columbus Circle Holiday Market

With its festive striped booths, the Columbus Circle Market is visually one of the most appealing holiday markets. Located right across from the Time Warner Center and nestled into the entrance to Central Park, it’s also one of the most well-located (easily accessible by public transportation.) Here, you’ll be able to browse jewelry, home goods, crafts and food—ensuring that you’ll find something for just about everyone on your list. (Through Dec. 24)

Renegade Crafts Fair

The Renegade Crafts Fair offers up everything from jewelry to paper goods to poultry (yes, poultry)—it’s kind of one-stop shopping. The fair focuses particularly on up-and-coming makers (Dec. 21 and Dec. 22 at the Brooklyn Expo, but check for dates at other locations.) Since one of those places is Brooklyn, it’s probably not surprising that you can also expect to find live DJ sets, various food offerings, and “creative installations” -- we’ll just let you wonder about that one.

Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair

The holiday market at Grand Central is something of an unexpected pleasure—it’s a nice surprise to find artisan crafts nestled inside one of the country’s busiest train stations. The focus is on American and locally made products; it’s one of the longest running indoor crafts fairs in the city. Half of Vanderbilt Hall is taken over with clothing, artwork, toys, and home goods. You’ll also find holiday ornaments, jewelry, bath products, and even pet accessories. After all, Fido deserves a nice handmade holiday, too. (Through Dec. 24)

Union Square Holiday Market

The Union Square Market is great all year round (that produce! those jams!) but it’s especially great at the holidays. Through Dec. 24, you’ll find 150 festive artisan booths that feature works of local craftsmen and artisans. The market always has a nice community feel, which is amped up during the holidays. In addition to crafts and food, you’ll also find a Kid’s Art Studio; live music; and a warming station. It’s also got a stellar vendor selection-- check out ones like Little Brooklyn and Urbanspace Provisions. (Through Dec. 24)

Crafts at St. John the Divine Cathedral

From Dec. 6-8, the world’s largest Gothic Cathedral plays host to a crafts fair just in time for the holidays; it’s actually inspired by Medieval crafts fairs. You’ll find gorgeous jewelry, textiles, leather goods, ceramics, metalwork, wooden pieces, and more, all displayed in one of the world’s most magnificent buildings. You’ll be supporting both the cathedral as well as local artists; the very shopping experience will be uplifting. (Dec. 6-8)

Want more tips? Check out a fun way to use the New York Pass!

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What to do in New York in February

February is my favorite time of year said no one ever. OK, it's got Valentine's Day, but it can be a long, grey slog until spring. We can help you get through the month with panache. Check out our list for events that will warm your spirits (if not your feet). Here's what to do in New York in February. Lunar New Year Festival—Metropolitan Museum of Art First off, celebrate the Year of the Rat with a day of events at the Met on February 1, from 11 AM-5 PM. Start the celebration off with a parade by the Chinese Center in Long Island Lion Troupe in the Museum’s Great Hall. Throughout the day, visitors can choose from such performances as the Sesame Street Puppeteers taking on Lunar New Year; it’s followed by a photo op with them. Participants will also find a calligraphy workshop on zodiac signs, as well as a workshop on making moveable dragon toys. Demonstrations by a tea master, complete with bubble tea tasting, as well as a hand-pulled noodle demonstration, will make sure visitors’ hunger is sated. Black History Month February 13-16 Next, the month of February offers numerous ways to celebrate Black History Month. Check out the Harlem Fine Arts Show at the Riverside Church. Inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, it brings together artists and collectors to celebrate the African diaspora. Or try out a Harlem walking tour—Taste Harlem’s Historical Food Tour offers plenty of soul food as well as Caribbean and African cuisines, plus stories about Harlem’s architecture and rich history. These are great options for what to do in New York in February. Winter Jam in Central Park February 1 Snow Day! This free (yes, free!) winter festival in Central Park on includes a mountain of homemade snow, and it’s worth it just to see it. Plus, of course, there's plenty you can do on and in that snow. Presented by NYC Parks, the Olympic Regional Development Authority, I Love NY, and I Ski NY, the festival offers snowshoeing and sledding, dodgeball and flag football (?!), curling and ice bowling. Someone please try ice bowling. Plus, visitors will find photo ops with bobsleds and snowcats (large enclosed vehicles deigned to move on snow). There’s also puppet making (not sure where the snow fits in) as well as a heated New York Public Library Room, for those who like to observe their snow from a distance, from somewhere it’s warm and cozy. Chinese New Year Parade and Festival February 9 This year, the Chinese New Year Parade and Festival will be heading down Mott and Canal Streets at 1 PM, and lasting until 4 PM. It culminates on Grand Street near Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Dragon dancing, martial art performers and of course, gorgeous costumes, are the draw here, along with a festive atmosphere and chance to ring in the Year of the Rat. Bronx Zoo - Name a Roach Nothing says Valentine’s Day quite like naming a roach for your beloved. This year, the Bronx Zoo gives you the option of attending “Roach Romance,” an after-hours program for adults on Valentine’s Day that includes wine, chocolate, and the chance to meet some of the animals up close. Bear in mind, part of the program takes place outside, but all paths are wheelchair accessible. If you decide just to go for the name-a-roach-option, you can certainly do that as well, along with purchasing roach-themed goodies like candles and socks. Do think carefully, however, about what this will say about your relationship... [caption id="attachment_3788" align="alignnone" width="1920"] Image courtesy of Bronx Zoo[/caption] Empire State Building Who says visiting the Empire State Building is just for the warmer months? The weather may be slightly nippier during the winter, but you’ll have the same great views, and generally fewer crowds to contend with. Make sure to visit one of the observation decks to get the famed 360 views—you’ll be able to see Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, and more. While you’re there, don’t forget the second-floor exhibits that guide visitors through the building’s construction and its more recent role in pop-culture history. Check out how you can use your New York Pass here. Brooklyn WineFest February 8 After Dry January, it's no wonder that Wine-Fest February is close behind. Brooklyn Wine Fest offers the chance to explore wine samples of hundreds of new wines from around the world, along with food, live music, and interactive games. (Better go easy on the wine, then.) Participants receive a souvenir five-ounce tasting glass, and can sample any wine on offer. You'll need a nibble or two with those drinks. Food offerings from vendors including Chavas Empanadas, Taste of Poland, Bang Cookies, and many more will also be available. Looking for more ways to celebrate February in New York? Why not discover The New York Pass?
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Remembering September 11 in NYC

No event in history has shaken up New York City like the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers on September 11th, 2001. This year, 15 years after the event, we still remember even though we have rebuilt the city and the scars are no longer visible. Every year on September 11th, New York City commemorates the tragedy through powerful displays and moving tributes. Here are some that you can see this weekend, on the 15th Anniversary of 9/11. [spacer height="20px"] Tribute in Light [caption id="attachment_826" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Tribute in Light from Brooklyn Bridge Park | Photo by Mark Lennihan/AP[/caption] [spacer height="20px"] Since 2002, 88 7000 Watt Xenon lights beam into the sky every year from Ground Zero of the World Trade Center Twin Towers, giving powerful tribute to the iconic towers on the New York City skyline. The Tribute was originally supposed to be temporary, but since 2013 has been run every year on September 11. The lights are lit at sunset on 9/11 and are turned off at sunrise on 9/12. The tribute is easily visible from pretty much anywhere in and around Manhattan. For the best views, try Brooklyn Bridge Park. [spacer height="20px"] National September 11th Memorial and Museum [caption id="attachment_828" align="aligncenter" width="801"] 9/11 Memorial Fountain at Night[/caption] [spacer height="20px"] [caption id="attachment_831" align="alignleft" width="302"] ‘Raising the Flag at Ground Zero’ by Thomas E. Franklin (Photo: 2001 The Record (Bergen Co. NJ)/Getty Images)[/caption] The National September 11 Memorial and Museum has recently acquired a long-lost flag pictured in a photo (left) of three firefighters lifting it from the rubble. You can now view the flag at the museum. Brand new art exhibit called Rendering the Unthinkable: Artists Respond to 9/11 opens on September 12th, showcasing responses and emotions tied to the even through artistic expression. On September 11, the 9/11 Museum and Memorial will be open only to the families of those affected and closed to the public, including New York Pass holders. The annual Commemoration Ceremony will live stream, starting at 8:46am. The Museum and Memorial reopens on September 12th. [spacer height="20px"] 9/11 Tribute Center [caption id="attachment_834" align="aligncenter" width="800"] 9/11 Tribute Center[/caption] [spacer height="20px"] The 9/11 Tribute Center is a small museum, founded and operated by the September 11th Families Association. It connects visitors with the authentic experiences through photos, video, audio recordings and artifacts. Leading up to the 15th anniversary, the Tribute Center will feature an increased number of their daily #My911Story presentations, which are designed to connect visitors with real survivors, their families and volunteers through their personal stories. The Tribute Center will be be open to the public after 1pm on September 11th. [spacer height="20px"] NYPD Parade [caption id="attachment_836" align="aligncenter" width="800"] NYPD Officers at the 9/11 Memorial | Photo by Jin Lee[/caption] [spacer height="20px"] The New York City Police Department will hold a special parade on Friday, September 9th to commemorate the 122 officer lost during or after 9/11.
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Attraction of the Week - Metropolitan Museum of Art

[caption id="attachment_816" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Aerial View of Metropolitan Museum of Art | Photo by Eric Bowers[/caption] [spacer height="20px"] One of the largest museums in the world and certainly one of the most coveted destinations in the United States and New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a majestic institution well worth a visit. The Met institution now comprises of the main Met 5th Avenue, the Cloisters and the Met Breuer. The main Met Museum is located on the east side of Central Park along the Museum Mile and features a permanent collection of over two million works spanning from ancient art to decadent classics and extravagant modern art. The Met also runs grandiose temporary exhibits. The stairs of the Met serve as a popular hang out spot for Upper East Side locals and visitors alike. The Met Cloisters is located in Harlem's quaint Fort Tryon Park and is dedicated to Medieval European art. The Cloisters will transport you into a different time and onto a different continent. Its location and landscape give it a remote, tranquil atmosphere, which makes the museum the perfect getaway from the hassle of Manhattan, without having to leave. The Met Breuer is the newest addition to the Met family. It opened in March 2016 on Madison Avenue in the famous Marcel Breuer building, originally occupied by the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Met Breuer was introduced to host a collection of modern and contemporary art. [spacer height="10px"] The Met Fifth Avenue 1000 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10028 Phone: 212-535-7710 The Met Breuer 945 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10021 Phone: 212-731-1675 The Met Cloisters 99 Margaret Corbin Drive Fort Tryon Park New York, NY 10040 Phone: 212-923-3700 The New York Pass grants free same day admission to all of the Met museum locations.
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