The Christmas Spirit in the Winter Village

Reading Time: 5 minutes

October 28, 2022 marked the start of the Christmas season in New York with the opening of the Bank of America Winter Village in Bryant Park. This is the 21st year that the event has taken place. The village brings together the culture of New York and gives small businesses the ability to expand their reach over the holiday season. 

Welcome sign at the entrance of Bryant Park Winter Village

The park is open Monday through Friday from 11am to 8pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 8pm. It offers the highlights of a free ice-skating rink, holiday artisanal shops, and the famous Lodge restaurant. Over 170 business stands can be found within the park and multiple activities are set up for families to enjoy. The village will stay open until March 5, however the holiday shops will close on January 2.   

The ornaments being sold at the Christmas in New York Kiosk


The holiday market features local New York based businesses ranging from crafts to boutiques. When walking into the village it is not hard to find a variety of shops in each section. The perimeter of the park is created by different kiosks showcasing their merchandise. Many food stands offer small treats that are able to be eaten while shopping, such as Pickle Me Pete. Pickle Me Pete opened in 2009 and can be found at farmers markets through the metropolitan area. They serve pickles fried, as well as trays of different assortments.

Pickle Me Pete stand and menu


The market features artisanal shops of different cultures and brings the community together to learn more about them. With the promotion of delicacies from all over the world, one will feel right at home no matter where they are from. In the park food such as bull chicken, representing Korean styled fried chicken, German Bratwurst, and Hadas Empanadas is easily accessible. The span of the park allows for a plethora of cuisine to be appreciated. 


When walking through the village I was able to take notice of the individual set up of the shops. Many of the products sold are a part of a green initiative, taking old items and making them new. The kiosk, Chopstick Art, is an amazing example of creating repurposed gifts. The shop was started in 2003 by a man named Bryan when he was studying in China. He learned that over a billion chopsticks are thrown away each year and he created a business to reduce the waste. He up-cycles chopsticks made of bamboo and changes them into home decor.


Folding baskets created by Bryan at the
Chopstick Art kiosk


Many of the clothes and decor are created to entice a large attraction. The use of posters and flyers in the store named Dekco, was able to catch my eye, as well as many other customers. The art gallery sells vintage posters that range from pictures of Audrey Hepburn to posters of dogs with inspirational slogans.                   


Posters in Dekco Art Gallery Kiosk


Due to the influx of small businesses being shown, the prices depend on the work put into the items being sold. This village has become an important source of income for many to rely on in the winter months. Bank of America hopes to give back by highlighting four New York-based minority owned small businesses. To qualify for this program the shop had to have an annual revenue of one-million dollars or less. Through an application, four businesses were accepted and given a kiosk free of charge to showcase their merchandise to the public. The company would be allowed to stay for two weeks at a time. This week Cocoa Puzzles, a jigsaw puzzle company, is on display. The puzzles are made for children and feature positive images of Black, Caribbean, and other minority cultures.


The Small Business Spotlight kiosk currently
home to Cocoa Puzzles

One of my favorite parts of the village was the carousel in the middle of the park. The ride has 14 horses to grab hold of. It is four dollars to take part in. It is currently decorated for Christmas but is available to ride year-round. It is a display of genuine happiness that any person can carry with them through their time in the winter park.


Le Carrousel during the holiday shop

The variety of shops is extremely helpful when looking for gifts. The use of small businesses makes them affordable, while also using the knowledge of helping others maintain their business. The holiday park showcases the ability to choose any gift for a family member or friend by having a plethora of inexpensive options to choose from.


The shop Ninova, which holds entirely journals and books
to write in


To end the trip in Bryant Park it is imperative to drink hot chocolate to fully experience the spirit of the event. There are multiple kiosks along the way that serve it. No matter where the cup is made from, the trip will only be complete when the last sip is gone. 


My cup of italian hot chocolate from the
Max Brenner stand

The creation of each kiosk is an example of the effort put forth by small markets. It is a reminder to support businesses during this time of the holiday season.