Festive Fun: A Bryant Holiday Market How-To

Melina Kyriakopoulos ’27 in Arts | December 8, 2023

         With a winter chill in the air, holiday lights are beginning to glow. It’s time to hop over to New York City, where Bryant Park hosts its annual holiday market, the Bryant Park Winter Village. 

        The Bryant Park Winter Village, a market modeled off a classic European holiday market, opened its gates in 2002. The festive booths are chock-filled with jolly, albeit expensive, items that began as a way for local businesses to use the park during the colder months of the year, as well as spread the holiday cheer. The first few years were shaky, though, and the market did not produce much customer turnout. This all changed in 2005 when the clever idea of adding an Olympic-sized skating rink “melted” the New York City holiday event competition. Although the city is home to a wide variety of ice rinks, New Yorkers were happy to welcome another one with open arms. Uncommon for the Big Apple, admission into the rink was, and still is free, if you bring your own skates. The ice brought in seasoned (and flimsy) skaters that drove up sales at the many booths at the Winter Market. The number of booths present at the first fair, 80, pales in comparison to the now more than 180 kiosks that had to compete for the lucrative spots. The heavily publicized event does not lack social media coverage and overall fame. 

        Here are some of the booths to look out for when visiting the village! Food is the main event of this park, but there is also an assortment of ornaments and stockings that can be picked up to decorate a dorm room, apartment, or house after devouring many filling snacks. Scarves and mittens are also stocked up if you want a new and fashionable way to stay warm. Back to the food, though. Let’s just say that there are plenty of options to choose from, whether you want a savory and fresh meal or gooey, fried cheese on a hot stick. Starting off strong, No Chewing Allowed is a great place to grab a comforting cup of chocolaty goodness to warm up your body and soul. Their name is no lie; the melty truffles and cocoa-filled drinks stand out among the crowd from other chocolatiers. Staying on the dessert train, Donuttery is the place to go for mouth-watering donuts. The mini donuts are great for a quick treat or a dentist’s nightmare meal. They are infused with innovative tastes, like bam berry and spicy rooster, and customers have the option to purchase a dipping sauce to accompany the fried dough balls. 

        Whether you choose to go for powdered sugar or pumpkin pie brûlée, this charming stop is a musttry. To break up the sweet, head over to Baked Cheese Haus. They feature a show-stopping wheel of cheese, in which the chefs craftily slide a good gloop of cheese onto their famous baguette sandwich. Inspired by the Scandinavian delight, videos of this luxurious meal set high hopes for viewers, and many visitors say they have not been let down. Picking up a crunchy side at Bel-Fries is the essential next step for this market food tour. Made from local ingredients, these crunchy potatoes are famous for a reason, from the genius marketing on Instagram to the quality of their large servings piled in a cone. They come with different tastes, toppings, and sauces and are a must-hit. Topping off the meal run, Destination Dumplings are unique creations that bring a little bit of spice to the dominantly European menu. Some of their coveted eats are their Korean beef dumplings and their classic pork bao buns. Try to visit earlier rather than later, though, because they sell out! Whether you love the holiday lead-up and want to be celebrated with cheer or are a fan of a good bite, the Bryant Park Winter Village should be the next event on your list of run-throughs this holiday season.