Window Shopping at The Pond in Bryant Park

One thing I love about the holidays is the holding of simultaneous markets in different open spaces in Manhattan.  I have always loved going around them and checking out the wares which are mostly sold by artisans and small businesses who specialize in unique, one-of-a-kind items.  From soaps, organic skin care products, toys and other apparel, you will see artistry and ingenuity displayed in these markets.

Since I now work in the area, I’ve watchedBryant Parkturn into the holiday spectacle that it is now, with the skating rink referred to as THE POND being surrounded by all these shops that make up the holiday fair running until December 28.

I finally got my chance to look at the set up upclose the day before Thanksgiving.  I stopped by before going up to the office while the shops were still closed (they open at 11am on weekdays and 10am on weekends) and the skating rink wasn’t all that crowded yet.  (The rinl opens at 8am)  It gave me a chance to take some quick shots before my batteries ran out of juice.  (Don’t you hate it when you think you had charged the batteries full, only to discover when you start snapping away that you didn’t?)

Bryant Park  26Nov08 (14)  The SHOPS in Bryant Park

I returned at around 4pm in the afternoon before I hopped on the bus home and saw most of the stores all lit up.  I didn’t have enough time to take a photo of each one but caught most on the front portion closest to the Avenue of the Americas.  I had some wasted shots that I chose not to publish which came out blurry and not usable. 

The place was busy but not overly crowded, and fortunately, I had enough light to work with without using my flash.  I covered barely half of the total stores as majority were housed in the back portion closer to the New York Public Library.  As I didn’t have time, I walked through the rows of stores closer to the corner of 42nd and Avenue of the Americas. 

It can be quite an entertaining walk even if you don’t mean to browse.  But with the diverse offerings and the surprisingly reasonable prices, there’s quite a lot to keep you entertained even if only visually.  There’s quite a number of art and jewelry stores.  The apparel stores are an interesting mix as well, with many handcrafted items on sale.  There are a lot of novelty items to catch anyone’s fancy, and speaking of fancy, there are stores offering a variety of artwork pieces ranging from art totes to glass art and even spinners.

I went from stall to stall and clicked away without much trouble except for one jewelry store whose owner politely declined to be photographed.  Although I cannot understand how that can be controlled given that they are in an open space in a tourist spot where many photographs are being taken, I took heed and moved on.  (By the way, the Holiday Fair in the Vanderbilt Hall of Grand Central Terminal is supposed to be a “no photographs” fair.. That one, I can understand — but here in Bryant Park?  It’s like telling people walking through Central Park that you cannot take photographs..)

It is more visually appealing to browse when the dark starts to set in because then each stall is gaily lit and you tend to appreciate the products inside better with the lighting.  I did miss the Christmas tree all lit up as I photographed it earlier during the day.  I can always go back when I finally return to shoot the other stores.

Click here to view the photostream featuring the stores.

The Shops at Bryant Park: Eek Oh Productions The Shops at Bryant Park: Le Primitive by Roberta & Simonetta 
The Shops at Bryant Park: Fusing Colors The Shops at Bryant Park: Pink Cloud Gallery

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