Scouting: Urban Space Holiday Markets

Urban Space Holiday Market @ Columbus Circle  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Urban Space Holiday Market @ Columbus Circle | Image: Laura Messersmith

Christmas is almost here, Hanukkah is in full swing, and there are a whole host of gift-giving occasions to plan for in the New Year. One thing New York does so well at this time of year is put on the holiday glitz including the markets Urban Space organizes in several parks across the city. I love wandering through them with a cup of hot cider in hand and looking for new treasures.

They’re open until December 24th, so I took a walk down to 59th Street to scout the Columbus Circle location and help narrow the gifting options for your favorite foodie, home cook, or gourmand. So if you’re a little stumped and looking for inspiration here’s your guide to the vendors that caught my eye.

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Kitchen Equipment:
Brooklyn Slate Co. – What better way to showcase and serve cheese than a slate board? Slate serving boards perfectly balance the tactile rustic texture of stone with sleek clean lines. I’d looove a large one in classic black and I’m honestly wondering how many people I could reasonably buy one for without it being weird.

Tree to Art - I’m a sucker for a good wooden cutting board or serving platter and these pieces are gorgeous! I particularly like the cutting boards that retain their natural shape, bark and all.

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NY Cruet – I don’t normally go in for specialty serve ware pieces, but these cruets for oil and vinegar look so cool. Still, simplicity is the name of the game in my house – so the elegant curves of the La Mancha design top my list.

Natural Olivewood – More wood beautifully polished into bowls and utensils. Personally I use wooden spoons and spatulas all the time to protect my pots and pans from scratches and these are pretty enough to migrate from the stovetop to the tabletop.

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Specialty Food:
The Truffelist – Full Disclosure: I can’t stand truffles, too over-powering for this palate, but that doesn’t mean these products don’t make great gifts for the truffle lover in your life. Even knowing my preference, I was still tempted by the truffle honey – if anything could convert me to the funk, it’s sweets.

Raaka Chocolate – You know my love of chocolate, so I was excited to discover another local producer during my visit to the market. Raaka has a different take than the Mast Bros. but same attention to detail and design. They even have a factory tour too, so guess who's going to have to visit soon…

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Spices and Tease – If you have a tea drinker in your life, or someone who likes to spice things up this is the booth to pick up a house blend of loose leaf tea - apricot peach hibiscus sounds awesome - or a jar of specialty seasonings. If this is the mobile version of this New York shop I can’t wait to see the full array.

No Chewing Allowed – Fun fact: chocolate truffles intentionally echo the appearance of the fungi(?) and with these confections the name says it all, you’re going to want to savor as long as possible. A package of these French truffles would be a great gift for any sweet tooth who loves retro-cool style.

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Pop Chart Lab – Maybe your foodie is less hands on, or s/he has a particular love of deep-tracks knowledge. This is the place to find a cool new piece of décor or some housewares that chart the intricacies of whiskey, coffee, beer, or kitchen knives. Teaching through design!