Union Square "Holiday" Market

Every year something, well, not wonderful.... something okay happens in Manhattan.  The Holiday Gift Markets appear.

These are places where you can buy overpriced trinkets while standing with large crowds of people in the cold.  It's surprisingly cheerful at times.  Especially on a weekday morning when relatively few people are there.

You have to remember, these pictures represent the lowest possible population density.

These pictures are of the Market in Union Square.  
(There's another one by Columbus Circle, and an unrelated one in Bryant Park.)

Most of what you can buy here falls into just a few categories:

Jewelry, Crafts (especially knitted products), Framed Art, Food, and Christmas Ornaments.

And most items have an additional modifier, like:
Sustainable or Green products, Products made in impoverished regions, or Handmade Locally.

Occasionally you find a trifecta, like a booth selling kitchy coin purses that were handmade in Columbia out of recycled candy wrappers.  Actually, those are pretty common.

When the market sets up, it becomes hard to get through parts of the park.  Part of it has this path behind the booths:

But the path lets out right into the shopping area.  In this picture you can see where it runs up against the Greenmarket on the west side of the park. (Trinkets for sale on your left, vegetables on the right)

The market takes also over the southern end, forcing the truly local artists who normally sell in the park to the outskirts of the sidewalk.

The booths surround this entrance to the subway:

This area, which is a fountain in warmer weather:

And this statue:

But despite squatting across one's path like an impassable, depressing tribute to the kitsch one gets for people one doesn't know well but feels obligated to buy a gift for, it's a cheerful place to shop.  Really.