Last year, I made an exceptional, yet unintentional discovery. While waiting for my best friend to arrive in NYC in the pouring rain for her birthday celebration and shopping, I sought out shelter in and around Bryant Park where we had planned to meet. Being the first weekend in December, I knew that there was an ice rink and a tree in the park, but I made another great discovery–the Holiday Shops in Bryant Park!
Tucked away in between ‘wichcraft coffee and bakery, “the pond” aka the skating rink and the numerous other restaurants are temporary shops that house some pretty fabulous stuff! Much to my delight, my office (although we’re relocating in two weeks) is located in Bryant Park and the shops are opening for the holiday season, this Friday, November 5th! The great move to Madison Ave is probably a blessing in disguise, since I won’t be able to spend my lunch hour and entire paycheck there, although I’m sure I’ll find other places on Madison to do my holiday shopping!
The shops literally have everything. I wish I were kidding. Clothes, jewelry, accessories, food, gift items, menswear, cultural products from around the world, art, health and beauty items, house and home, toys and games, gifts for animal lovers (and animals–Annie’s Dog Bakery and Boutique is on site) and of course, holiday items! What more could you possibly want?
I was so excited to check out the latest list of the 100+ shops that were going to be retailing their goodies this year, since I’ve been watching the constructors setting up the stores for the last two weeks! I was pleased to find that many of my favorites were once again returning, promising fabulous chic holiday gifts for my friends and family and maybe a little something from “Santa”….for me!
Having finally launched a website, I’ve been following this brand of chic, hand-beaded scarves for the last few years. You may have seen their work tucked away in the racks at Nordstrom, on sale two or three times through Ideeli and I’ve even been able to scoop one up at a TJ Maxx! When I found them at Bryant Park last year, I was beyond psyched–a mini store filled with only their scaves. Studded, sequined, patterned, heavy-weight, light-weight, different fabrics, colors and textures–it was like I died and went to scarf heaven. My first trip I purchased two, and I went back right before the shops closed for the season to purchase a few more (during which time I told the owner I found one at TJ Maxx, and I never had seen someone get so excited before!). They remain my favorite scarf company of all time.
Made U Look (located in Section C)
A line of fabulously adorable and humorous, exceptionally well-fitting and super cozy t-shirts. All Made U Look t-shirts are 100% cotton and are finished with Made U Look’s trademark butter-wash process in order to achieve the amazingly silky-soft feeling you experience when you wear it! Their products combine the perfect balance of chic and funny, and whether or not you love a graphic tee–you’ll love these. Remember the fantastic Rocket Tee Jessica Simpson sported a few years ago? Made U Look! I went out and scooped that shirt up within days of that picture surfacing!
Annie’s Dog Bakery and Boutique (located in Section B)
According to Annie, “If you won’t eat it, why should your dog?” That simple question was the impetus for Annie’s Dog Bakery & Boutique. Coming from a family that loves to cook, Annie simply started baking. After literally hundreds of batches of cookies, cakes, and biscuits “tested” on both Annie and Zoe, Annie’s Maltese, Annie’s Dog Bakery & Boutique was born. After two successful years of serving organic, all-natural dog treats, Annie has recently expanded into the world of fashion and will offer the hippest duds for dogs at Bryant Park this season. A must-stop-shop for any dog lover, and I think we all know how much I love my puppy Izzie!
Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man (located in Section I)
According to Max Brenner, the chocolate connoisseur creating a new chocolate culture, “I don’t invent anything in chocolate. It all exists in people’s minds and hearts.” I had my first experience at Max Brenner’s in Union Square just a few weeks ago, and I’m pretty psyched for the miniature version of it–new to the shops at BP this year, I can’t wait to bring tantilizating tasty treats to all of my friends! Max Brenner has been featured on The Martha Stewart Show, The Rachael Ray Show, Fox and Friends, and CNBC.
Sabon (located in Section J)
Never heard of Sabon? Here’s a little history–in the summer of 1974, in a small farming town in Israel, a young couple, guided by an ancient Aboriginal recipe they had stumbled upon during their travels, began making soap in their backyard. Today, Sabon, which means “soap” in Hebrew, uses the same love and personal care that went into that first bar of lavender soap to present an unparalleled range of exceptional bath and beauty products. Using time-honored remedies based on the finest natural ingredients, Sabon strives to bring luxury to the everyday, for everyone. I discovered Sabon a few years ago on Newbury Street in Boston–with several locations across the country, you’re sure to find a product you love from them, and with the small size of the shop at Bryant Park, you’re practically guaranteed to get extra special attention finding your perfect product…and don’t forget a basket makes a great holiday gift! My favorite product? Their outrageous Vanilla Coconut Body Scrub…sighhhh
Santa New York (located in Section D)
A fabulous little shop filled with everything Christmas, of course! Mostly decked with ornaments, this shop does some great personalization of items purchased. Every year, I buy my parents commemorative ornament with all of our names and the year on it–and of course, Izzie was added to our family last year too, so she got a spot as well! Beware though–customization can take several hours depending on how busy they are, so go there first, and then do the rest of your shopping!
Wendy Culpepper Jewelry (located in Section L)
Oh, Wendy Culpepper. Poor thing constantly gets confused with famed Project Runway villain Wendy Pepper, and who could ever forget her?! In fact, an honest mistake, when I saw her boutique listed, I thought, “WHAT?! Wendy Culpepper makes jewelry now?!” Nope. Wendy Culpepper and Wendy Pepper are two different people. Strangely enough, when Pepper sports brown hair, she looks a tad like an older version of Culpepper. Creepy! Thankfully, Ms, CULpepper is making a name for herself with some super-chic jewelry, and a sweet online boutique! A first-time Holiday Shops at Bryant Parker, I plan to pay her a visit and check out what she’s got to offer! (P.S. Boys…earrings, make a really good stocking stuffer…nudge, nudge)
There are so many more great shops at the park, that if I wrote about all of them, I’d be here all night! Sadly, I won’t be able to make a trip to the shops until next Wednesday or Friday, but I’m soooo looking forward to it, and promise to report back with anymore fabulous finds.
So if you’re planning a holiday shopping trip in NYC, even if it’s not a great day, be sure to make a trip to The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with my recommendation!!
Disclaimer: Shoes, Shirts and Other Sh!t blog nor Erika Belezarian are in any way affliated with the above stated Holiday Shops at Bryant Park or any of the brands or boutiques noted above. Neither SSOS blog or Erika endorse these brands in any way and were not under any obligation to provide this review. Erika is expressing her own opinion of the shops and stores stated above based on previous shopping experience in some of these stores and from viewing the list and websites of the new shops this year.