Holiday Shopping That Helps

The holidays are the perfect time to reflect on all we have, and on doing a bit to help those who don’t have as much.

Consider these 3 thrift shops and emerge with unique gifts – and the knowledge you’ve assisted someone who needed it.

1) Housing Works Thrift Shops (various stores and online)

Discover nearly new and vintage treasures (clothing, accessories, decor) at these shops, which support an important cause:

“Housing Works engages in an array of advocacy strategies to further our mission of ending the twin crises of AIDS and homelessness. Over the past three decades, we’ve learned that any effective plan to address AIDS requires shared commitment: the political will of governments, coordination between health agencies at all levels, and the energy and dedication of AIDS activists, doctors, researchers, service providers, and communities affected by HIV/AIDS. The Housing Works AIDS-FREE Campaign is a collaborative, multi-year initiative committed to ending the AIDS epidemic—in New York State by 2020, in the United States by 2025, and worldwide by 2030. “

2) The Sharing Place Thrift Store (333 East 115th Street)

An over 20-year institution, and voted “Best Thrift Store in NYC”, The Sharing Place

“is an extension of LSA Family and Health Service, a nonprofit that provides food pantry, health, education, and family support services to families in crisis in East Harlem and surrounding communities. Through The Sharing Place, LSA is able to offer free emergency goods to individuals and families in crisis for people living in East Harlem.  In addition, all proceeds from sales at the store support family programs at LSA.”

3) The Thrifty HoG (11 West 25th Street)

An upscale boutique, offering chic vintage clothing and accessories and more, The Thrifty HoG:

“is a unique retail establishment: not only do proceeds benefit the homeless mothers and children supported by HoG, but the shop also provides job-training for these struggling women.

Our goal at Hearts of Gold is simple: Empowerment, Sustainability, Self-Sufficiency and Lots of Love.”


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Most moms who become homeless are forced into their situation because of domestic violence, family situations, or a number of other roadblocks. We help moms to break down those barriers and in turn, break the cycle of homelessness for good. Laura is one example of our holistic approach in action. When she came to us at age 19, she had nothing, but her ambition to be better for herself, and her kids fueled her. More than a decade later, Laura is a registered nurse and a thriving member of her NY community. Here is a short video on Laura. To watch the full video, please visit our website. Support moms like Laura by joining us at our All That Glitters Gala on November 7th! Your generous support will provide our Hearts of Gold Fresh Start Package, metro cards, employment training, and a number of other resources that will help them to get back on their feet, permanently. Click link in bio to purchase tickets. #heartsofgold #gala #homeless #nonprofit #homelesswomen #homelesschildren #endhomelessness #bethechange #changelives #impactinglives #homelessness #homelesspeople #breakthecycle #empowerwomen

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City Opera Thrift Shop (222 East 23rd Street)

While their charity benefits the arts rather than people-specifically, it bears mentioning, as the art organization (New York City Opera) itself supports a number of outreach programs.

Also: It’s just a walk from Waterside to these stylish vintage and designer fashions!

“New York City Opera was famously dubbed ‘The People’s Opera’ by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia at its founding in 1943. More than 70 years later, City Opera continues its historic mission to inspire audiences with innovative and theatrically compelling opera, nurture the work of promising American artists, and build new audiences through affordable ticket prices and extensive outreach and education programs.​  Taking inspiration from the vibrant community around it, City Opera celebrates diversity with a new Ópera en Español series and LGBT Initiative, and revitalized outreach and education programs are cultivating and inspiring the next generation of City Opera audiences.”

Holiday Shopping with Entertainment

Anticipating the happiness of your loved one opening that perfect gift you got them, that’s the beautiful part of gift-giving.

But, sometimes, holiday shopping can be draining.

Here are 2 places that can add that much needed dose of excitement.

Go Indie!

Industry City in Brooklyn is home to the Renegade Craft Fair, on December 17+18 (11am-6pm).

Featuring over 200 vendors, Renegade Craft Fair is the largest independent craft fair in the world, an indie extravaganza that has been in a number of cities, such as Chicago, San Francisco, Austin, Portland, and London.

It describes itself as a “highly curated showcase of the very best in modern craft and design” – and Industry City calls the Brooklyn event, “a festive Celebration of DIY featuring Maker-designer goods, inspired surroundings, interactive features, artisanal food + drink, live music.”

(220 36th St #2-A, Brooklyn)

Renegade Poster
Renegade Poster

And, if you’re fond of Vodka, or know a connoisseur who’d be excited about a special one as a gift, Industry City Distillery offers Saturday tours of its facility where they make their house vodka.

(For another indie shopping option, try Artists & Fleas in Chelsea Market.)

Shop Some Standards to Old Standards – with a light show!

At the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place (which has Saks, J Crew and Burberry, among others) enjoy a light show all through the season with Luminaries – where  “Visitors are immersed in a canopy of glowing lanterns suspended within, each changing color and intensity.

Touch-sensitive ‘wishing stations’ on the ground invite visitors to send a holiday wish, which materializes as a burst of color traveling through the lanterns above.”

And for every wish, a donation is made supporting music education programs.

Luminaries at Brookfield Place (photo from Brookfield Place's Instagram)
Luminaries at Brookfield Place (photo from Brookfield Place’s Instagram)

Light shows will be presented at the hour and the half hour, 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily, synced to 3 beloved seasonal songs: “Winter Wonderland” by Michael Bublé, “Silver Bells” by Tony Bennett and “Carol of the Bells” by The Bird and The Bee.

(230 Vesey Street)

Waterside Holiday Craft Fair and Bake Sale

Holiday Craft and Bake Sale
Credit: Martha Stewart Crafts. Source:

Sure, holiday markets abound in New York City but this one is right outside your door. Find one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted gifts, jewelry, bath and body products, and baked goods from local artists at our annual Holiday Craft Fair and Bake Sale this Sunday, November 29, 10AM – 2PM. Admission is free and open to the public. If you would like more details or are interested in participating as a vendor, please contact Greg Puleri at (212) 340-4225 or by email at

The Best Pop-Up In Town, the Union Square Holiday Market Is Now Open!

Shoppers at Union Square Holiday Market/

New York City has several of everything, including pop-up holiday shops, but we’re going to go ahead and say the Union Square Holiday Market is the one not to miss (and not just because we can walk there from Waterside)! With over 150 local as well as national vendors, selling everything from family-recipe French truffles to jewelry made from real flowers, the Union Square Holiday Market has that quality we really like in NYC: personality for days.

Mabrouk Imports at Union Square Holiday Market
Mabrouk Imports at Union Square Holiday Market/

The Union Square Holiday Market is open November 20 – December 24, 2014, but we recommend you go before the last-minute holiday shoppers descend so you can spend time strolling among the twinkling, red-and-white aisles, taking in the holiday spirit and probably some freshly sugared mini-doughnuts because who could resist? Also go by on a weekday night to best avoid the crowds–every kind of handmade, fair-trade, small-batch ware in art, jewelry, food, home decor, and gifts for men, women and children will be available for your browsing pleasure. The market is open Mon – Fri 11am–8pm, Sat 10am–8pm and Sun 11am–7pm.

Union Square Holiday Market
Union Square Holiday Market aerial view/