Don't miss the hot chocolate at Squish Marshmallows.

Union Square Holiday Market

Manhattan New York

Urbanspace

Union Square Holiday Market

Union Square Holiday Market is an Urbanspace project in Manhattan New York. Vendors sell holiday merchandise including Christmas ornaments, accessories, art, specialty food, and more. Stalls line the stone mortared paths at this world-renowned Christmas market that runs from November 16 to December 24.

Manhattan New York

Manhattan’s Union Square Holiday Market is the perfect place to shop for boutique items during the holidays.

Union Square Holiday Market is a New York Christmas market.

Union Square Holiday Market in Manhattan is an Urbanspace project.

Holiday and Christmas Shopping

Colorful Christmas trees and sculptures are scattered throughout the Union Square Holiday Market.

My daughter and I tried on wool hats and scarves, smelled sprigs of lavender and perfume, handled jewelry and Christmas ornaments, and laughed at the pet outfits on display. Though we bought a few gifts, the vendor that we liked best was Squish Marshmallow, and it wasn’t because of their marshmallows.

Christmas Market un Manhattan

Shoppers choose from a large selection of merchandise during the holidays.

Manhattan New York

This Union Square Holiday Market vendor displays colorful, unique wool hats.

Manhattan New York

Union Square Holiday Market in Manhattan is world renowned.

Christmas Market

German Delights features hot apple cider and German specialties.

 Squish Marshmallow

Squish Marshmallow sells hand torched marshmallows that are tan on the outside and warm and gooey inside. Flavors include gingerbread, jelly donut, peppermint bark, chocolate dipped and more. We tried the chocolate dipped donut flavor that crunched, and the taste reminded us of s’mores. We enjoyed them and liked the unique concept.

But what we loved best was their hot chocolate because it tasted authentic.  It consisted of cream infused with Dutch cocoa and chocolate blended with vanilla and a touch of sugar. The decadent dark drink was bursting with cocoa.

We split one, and it tasted delicious. We passed it back and forth several times, and it lasted only a few minutes. Our gluttony made me forget to photograph the drink. However, you can find Squish Marshmallow in Manhattan’s East Village.

Union Square Holiday Market

Visiting Union Square Holiday Market is an excellent opportunity to find something for everyone. If you didn’t make it this year, put it on your must-see list for 2018.

 

Mt. Washington in Baltimore

Visitors head to Mt. Washington in Baltimore, Maryland, to shop in a relaxed atmosphere, attend art workshops, and experience fine food.

Locals and savvy visitors stroll the village and duck in boutiques looking for that must-have. Shopping in this genteel town is like a vacation from the city and busy malls.

Shopping

La Chic Boutique

La Chic Boutique offers consignment clothing and accessories in Mt. Washington in Baltimore, Maryland.

La Chic Boutique
http://www.lachicboutiquemd.com

La Chic Boutique sells consignment clothing and accessories including designer brands.

Something Else                                  https://www.facebook.com/SomethingElseMtWashington

Check out Something Else for uniques styles and accessories for women.

Pasha’s Hammam Herbal Soaps                                   http://www.pashashammamsoaps.com

If you are searching for herbal soaps, oils, cosmetics, shawls, or scarves, Pasha’s is your place.

O’Malley Antiques                                                                               

http://www.omalleyantiques.com
O’Malley’s Antiques sells beautiful antiques dated from the 18th to the 20th century.

O'Malley Antiques in Mt. Washington, Baltimore

O’Malley Antiques can enhance your home with furniture, ceramics, art, metals, accessories, lighting, rugs, mirrors and more.

Art

Art parties are big in this area. Children celebrate their birthdays creating arts and crafts, and adults attend “girls night out” events and bring their chosen beverage.

The studios run art workshops that accommodate the novice to the artisan. These workshops include painting, glass art, hand building with clay, and using the potter’s wheel. Instructors guide students through steps to create one-of-a-kind pieces.

Art Classes

The Painting Workshop                                                                  http://www.thepaintingworkshop.com/location_mw.shtml

The Painting Workshop schedules classes and parties for children and adults.

The Painted Palette in Mt. Washington, Baltimore

The Painted Palette is a studio where students relax and learn to paint.

The Painted Palette                                                      https://www.paintedpalettebaltimore.com

The Painted Palette holds classes for children, but they are billed as “Baltimore’s best venue for art and wine entertainment.”

Baltimore Clayworks                                                          http://www.baltimoreclayworks.org

Baltimore Clayworks teaches design, clay building by hand, and the use of the potter’s wheel.

Amazing Glaze in Mt. Washington, Baltimore

Amazing Glaze is a painting studio in Mt. Washington, Baltimore.

Amazing Glaze
http://www.amazingglaze.net

Amazing Glaze throws pottery painting parties and workshops for children through adults. They teach glass fusing, canvas painting, and mosaics. Adults can bring their own beverage.

Restaurants

Local restaurants serve Chesapeake Bay seafood and multicultural specialties in a casual atmosphere. Foodies can feast on Creole, Japanese, French, and American selections.

The Nickel Taphouse                                                                     http://www.nickeltaphouse.com

The Nickel Tap House in Mt. Washington in Baltimore

The Nickel Taphouse in Mt. Washington features oysters and craft beer.

The Zagat-rated Nickel Taphouse features pub food, craft beers, and oysters.

Mt. Washington Tavern in Baltimore

Mt. Washington Tavern in Baltimore is a locals haven.

The Mt Washington Tavern                                            https://www.mtwashingtontavern.com

The Mt. Washington Tavern serves lunch and dinner, and the bar is a great place to mingle and grab some oysters, a burger, or a salad.

Woodrows Bar-B-Que                                                                     https://www.woodrowsbbq.com

Woodrows Bar-B-Que specializes in Texas barbecue that is hormone and antibiotics free.

Le Bistro Du Village in Mt. Washington

Le Bistro Du Village in Mt. Washington is owned by a family who had lived in Paris.

Le Bistro Du Village                                                                          https://lebistroduvillage.com

Le Bistro Du Village is Zagat rated and family owned. They feature traditional French cuisine.

Ethel’s Creole Kitchen                                                          http://www.ethelscreolekitchen.com

Ethel’s Creole Kitchen creates Chesapeake Bay,  Louisiana Creole, and Cajun concoctions.

Chiyo Sushi: Japanese Restaurant                                                      http://www.chiyosushi.com

Chiyo Sushi offers Japanese specialties like sushi, tempura, and teriyaki.

While in Baltimore, if you have a few hours to spare, take a trip to Mt. Washington. Whether shopping, attending classes, or dining, you will find that the locals make you feel at home.

 

 

 

 

 

Volunteers donate uniquely decorated Christmas trees.

Festival of Trees

 The East Coast’s Largest Holiday Spectacular

Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Festival of Trees, the most massive and extravagant holiday event on the East Coast, benefits the special-needs children of Kennedy Krieger. It’s held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Maryland.

Festival of Trees

Kennedy Krieger's Festival of Trees in Maryland

Volunteers donate hand-decorated holiday trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses for the Festival of Trees.

Shoppers selected from over 700 hand-decorated trees, wreaths, and gingerbread houses; and they perused more than 100 boutiques packed with gifts and holiday decor.

When they weren’t browsing, they viewed the train garden and gingerbread house display.

Kennedy Krieger's Festival of Trees' Train Garden

Families enjoy the train garden at the Festival of Trees.

Festival of Trees Trollific Christmas Tree

One of the most original trees at Kennedy Krieger’s Festival of Trees is titled “Have a Trollific Christmas.”

Kennedy Krieger's Festival of Trees in Maryland

A booth at the Festival of Trees features “Wild Women Pins.”

Kennedy Krieger Festival of Trees in Maryland

The Craft of Bethlehem features handmade nativity scenes and religious relics.

Kennedy Krieger's Festival of Trees in Maryland

Volunteers donate uniquely decorated Christmas trees to support Kennedy Krieger.

The festival featured live entertainment, a carnival with rides, arts and crafts, games, pony rides, and much more. Some competed in a scavenger hunt, while others purchased raffle tickets,  and bid on silent auction items.

Kennedy Krieger's Festival of Trees Carousel

Kennedy Krieger’s Festival of Trees includes a carnival with rides, crafts, and games.

The event was held the weekend after Thanksgiving at the Timonium Fairgrounds in Timonium, Maryland. It’s the top fundraising event for Kennedy Krieger, and if you didn’t attend this year, please consider a donation.

Kennedy Krieger's Festival of Trees in Timonium, Md

Shoppers select from two, four, and seven-foot Christmas trees to benefit Kennedy Krieger.

The dates for the 2018 Festival of Trees are November 23 to November 25, and you can reserve your tickets and hotel room now.

Kennedy Krieger Institute

Kennedy Krieger Institute specializes in “disorders of the brain, spinal cord, and musculoskeletal system.”  They serve over 16,000 patients annually.

The Festival of Trees benefits an excellent cause and is worth the trip.

Canal Street and Mulberry Streets in Chinatown

Canal Street Counterfeits and Criminals

Woman on Canal Street in Chinatown in Manhattan.

Are her boots counterfeit or authentic? (Photo by JL)

Canal Street in Chinatown in Manhattan

Canal Street in Chinatown in Manhattan, N.Y. is where vendors sell couterfeit merchandise. (Photo by JL)

 

Child Labor

I was naïve the first time that I had shopped on Canal Street in Manhattan. I wasn’t aware that children, sometimes chained, made counterfeit purses in China and were paid a pittance. I also didn’t know that I would mingle with purse thieves, pickpockets, con men, con women, gang members, human traffickers, and counterfeiters wanted by Homeland Security.

Canal Street whirled with activity the day my daughter and I shopped for a faux-designer purse for her. Shoppers ducked in and out of stores haggling over prices for counterfeit designer merchandise: watches, bags, sunglasses, perfume, electronic equipment, jewelry, clothing and more. Everyone wanted a deal.

Two women stood in front of a merchandise-packed store and whispered to us, “Gucci, Gucci, Prada?” Why were they whispering? Were the police around?

My daughter said, “Coach.”

The women whisked us through the store between shabby curtains and down dirty basement steps. Gucci, Prada, Coach, Hermes, Channel, Louis Vuitton were a sampling of their counterfeit wares that loaded the room. Many of these bags sold on Canal Street for under $100, but if the bags were genuine, they would retail in the hundreds and some in the thousands. Luckily, my daughter couldn’t find what she wanted, and we left.

As we headed down the street, another vendor hustled us. I heard, “Channel? Loui Vuitton?”

My daughter said “Coach.”

 The woman said, “Follow me.”

She walked ahead of us for several blocks while talking on a walkie-talkie and approached a man and told us to follow him. We walked a few blocks, and he handed us off to another man. We followed him for several blocks, and he turned down an alley. I was concerned that they didn’t want us to recognize them, but now I was worried. I tried to get my daughter’s attention who was right on the man’s heels and didn’t seem to think twice about following him down an alley.

He approached a blue van, opened the hatch, and before I knew it, my daughter had climbed in the back. I imagined someone slamming the door, and the van taking off. I believe that I would’ve been too stunned to get the tag number.

Suppose they trafficked her?

“Get out of there now!” I said.

She reluctantly left the van. A man who had watched this scene approached and said that he was worried when he saw my daughter enter the truck because he knew that the police were surveilling the street for gangs who controlled the counterfeit, drug and human trafficking markets.

 How does counterfeiting work?

 Alice Hines in the Village Voice wrote about a 2012 case when a group of criminals purchased legitimate designer goods and shipped them to China. Months later,  counterfeit designer boots, purses, and coats arrived in the U.S.

Mills in China manufacture bags for less than $2 each and they sell them to distributors for $10 – $30. They ship them to the U.S. hidden among other merchandise, or they mislabel them. Street vendors sell them for $50 – $100 per item. Most vendors are impoverished, and some are homeless. They sell their wares on the streets from trash bags, suitcases, cars or vans, or from stores or warehouses. The higher-tier criminals can make millions.

Why Don’t They Arrest Them?

If caught, street vendors are arrested and fined, though they could get a year in prison, they often return to the streets. The maximum jail term is four years for counterfeit possession valued at $1,000 or more, and 15 years for $100,000. Also, it is not illegal for the customers to buy fakes.

Buyer Beware

Fake designer perfume seems to be the riskiest item for consumers because bottles may contain chemicals like antifreeze. In spring 2016, Homeland Security confiscated a shipment headed to retailers and online sites.

The best bet is to buy your merchandise from a reputable dealer or do without. That’s my plan.

Below are the links that I used for my article:

https://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/26/city-raids-counterfeit-triangle-shutting-32-storefronts/?_r=0

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/nyregion/counterfeiting-trade-settles-into-a-new-york-standby-self-storage-units.html

http://www.villagevoice.com/news/knockoff-another-day-at-the-office-on-canal-street-with-counterfeit-vendors-8626379

http://abc7ny.com/news/counterfeit-purfume-seized-in-raid;-could-contain-urine-antifreeze/1355189

http://www.nytimes.com/1989/03/04/nyregion/a-new-gang-s-violent-role-in-chinatown.html

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/452164-shift-in-approach-to-counterfeits-shown-in-new-un-campaign/

http://nypost.com/2013/04/07/tourists-beware-councilwoman-wants-to-make-it-a-crime-to-buy-knockoff-handbags/

http://www.nychinatown.org/articles/3cardmonte.html

http://www.allny.com/shopping-articles/canal-street-deals-new-york.html

Two Traveling Texans
Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Fla., Courtyard

I may have sat in President Kennedy’s chair

Our Friends shopping on Worth Avenue

Our Friends shopping on Worth Avenue (photo by dorothyadele)

A recent trip to Worth Avenue in Palm Beach triggered memories from a previous trip when we naïvely entered an expensive, renowned restaurant when we were in our 20s. What could have been an embarrassing mistake became a memorable experience.

The trip began when I vacationed with my friends in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and we drove to Palm Beach to spend the day. We arrived in the morning and strolled down Worth Avenue. Worth Avenue is often compared to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Avenue Montaigne in Paris.

Exclusive fashion boutiques, jewelry stores, antique shops, fine furniture stores, restaurants, gift shops and spas composed — and still compose — Worth Avenue. Ferraris, Bentleys,  Mercedes-Benz and Rolls-Royce automobiles  were parked on the palm-tree-lined street. Brightly colored flowers cascaded over arches and poured out of tubs and baskets outside the shops and in the courtyards.

Friends are strolling on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach,Fla.

Friends are strolling on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach,Fla. (Photo by dorothyadele)

We window shopped, and watched diamond-adorned shoppers saunter in and out of Gucci, Van Cleef and Arpels, Hermes, Neiman Marcus and Cartier stores. Many shoppers wore hats and sported designer clothes, shoes and bags.

By mid afternoon, we were hungry and we looked for a restaurant for lunch. I suggested that we drop into Ta-boo for a quick bite. I did not realize that it was famous,  and President John F. Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Donald Trump, Jimmy Buffett, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Rod Stewart and many other celebrities had dined there.

I was first to enter the restaurant , and I stopped like I had hit a wall. I spotted shiny silverware and crisp starched white tablecloths, and I knew that it wasn’t in the average price range for us 20 somethings.

I considered bolting out the door and sprinting down Worth Avenue in search of McDonalds‘ golden arches. Instead I casually glanced back at my friends with an uh-oh look and smiled. We quickly decided to stay.

My friends liked new experiences and were unlikely to get upset over a lunch. Also, it would have been awkward if we darted past the maitre d and out the door clutching our wallets. I bet that would have raised some eyebrows.

Though Ta-boo was upscale, we enjoyed our lunch and had a great time. My friends teased me that they would not allow me to suggest dropping into a restaurant for a quick bite ever again.

I fondly remember our lunch at Ta-boo. Who knows, I may even have sat in President John F. Kennedy’s chair that day.