Can You Do ALL Your Holiday Shopping Right Here On Roosevelt Island and Score Beautiful Gifts? You bet!
George H.W. Bush, Sr., who passed away on Friday November 30, 2018 at the age of 94, once said “We have as a nation a moral obligation to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world.”
In many ways creating a kinder and gentler world, which we need now more than ever, begins with the world we create here at home, on Roosevelt Island. It means investing in and supporting our neighbors. Isn’t that is what is meant by the prayer, “Let there be peace on earth, and good will towards [wo]men.”
We all speak platitudes about the importance of buying local, but how much do we put our money where our mouth is? For a community to really thrive it needs a local economy, a network of small businesses and a vibrant Main Street. What if we all try to avoid the allure of one-click shopping this year and get wonderful meaningful gifts for all ages from local festive local venues?
If we do that, we will get all of our needs accomplished and build and strengthen our community at the same time. Our local businesses and organizations give back to our community in many ways throughout the year at free events like the wonderful RIOC Tree Lighting Ceremony, the Halloween Extravaganza, Fall for the Arts, the Cherry Blossom Festival, and Roosevelt Island Day. These events add so much vibrancy and excitement to our community. Studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains.
Well, now it is our turn to support them. There is no time like the holidays to embrace the spirit of giving. Peruse the abundant options listed below to make doing all of your holiday gift shopping possible, enjoyable, and successful!
Holiday Pop-Up Shop
Originally featuring used goods and knick knacks, the Holiday Pop-Up Shop, now run by the Carter Burden Roosevelt Island Senior Center and the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association as a fundraiser, has evolved to showcase and support local merchants and businesses while also supporting the seniors.
Seniors' beautiful artwork and hand sewn crafts will be sold at the pop-up, including aprons, tote bags and artwork for adults and children. How much more meaningful is a purchase like this over a one-click buy in front of an electronic screen from a corporation that already has more revenue and power than it knows what to do with (we see you Jeff Bezos!)?
Why not have your purchase be something hand made, something whose creation holds a special meaning in the life of the person who created it? Something, as we like to say, made with love?
You'll find hand-made, natural and authentic treasures from hand made jewelry to goats milk soap to African shea butter and black soap to Indian scarves. Poinsettas from Wholesome Market will be on sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Senior Center. There really is nothing like putting one of these beautiful red-leafed plants into your home to make it feel festive and cheerful for the season.
Refreshments for sale will include morning bagels and coffee for $2.00. Hot sandwiches will be available at lunchtime. There will also be gingerbread!
A 50/50 raffle, winner gets half the cash from the proceeds, and a wine and cheese
basket including vouchers for local businesses will be raffled off twice a day.
You don’t have to be present to win the drawing, and raffle tickets will be inexpensive, approximately $1.00 for 3 tickets.
The Vistors' Center is run by the Roosevelt Island Historical Society and located just west of the tram.
The Visitors' Center will have a table at the pop-up, and will also be extending their hours at their kiosk location by the tram, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday December 19, 20, and 21 from 12:30 to 8 pm. The Visitor's Center specializes in Roosevelt Island-themed gifts, memorabilia, and accessories – many of which can’t be found anywhere else, including a tram jigsaw puzzle, Roosevelt Island magnets and other local treats.
Pink-Tage Creative Market
The Pink-Tage Creative Market event at Manhattan Park the following weekend, on December 16, provides another fun local shopping opportunity.
The event is the brainchild of Manhattan Park resident, Carla Ramirez. Her intent behind the creative bazaar was to support Venezuelan entrepreneurs. "I want their talent to be shown [to] other cultures.” Also, she says, it’s to show gratitude for “all the residents of Manhattan Park that have given me all their support” so she is making December 16 a Roosevelt Island family day.
Crafts and goods from over 20 vendors will be featured along with food, music, and free kids activities.
Be prepared to spend the day there! A free Zumba class and a free fitness class will also be offered so shoppers can destress and work off a few calories from the extra holiday eating.
This is sure to be a great one for thoughtful, well chosen items in a convenient one-stop-shop venue that takes the headache out of holiday stress.
Show your Roosevelt Island pride! For only $20 get a cool, durable black and white tote bag in duck canvas featuring the iconic Roosevelt Island Tram.
This functional and good-looking bag is also gender-neutral. It makes a great choice for a
colleague or friend or a book-lover in the family. I find it also holds my laptop nicely. This is a great way to support your free, local paper.
You can also show off your Island pride by gifting a T-shirt designed by Manhattan Park resident, Gage Hunt. Hunt has sold these shirts at various Island activities and says that they were very popular on Roosevelt Island Day and sold out at the Hope Church Fall Festival. Buy yours here. Caution: quantities are limited.
Gift Certificates from Local Merchants
Gift certificates with local restaurants and merchants is a great way to make your giving go even further. Who doesn’t love a chance for a beauty treatment, or a date night at or drinks at one of our local restaurants or shops?
The holidays are a stressful time too, so consider acupuncture or wellness treatments for you or a loved one at Island Acupuncture & Wellness, where some end-of-year specials are currently on offer.
If that's not your speed, you can always head over to Island Wine & Spirits to buy some cheer for your egg nog or wine to bring to a local holiday party.
Gift yoga, dance, or theater classes at Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance, or purchase a gift certificate for a Friday movie night at Music & Play Station.
If thoughtful and joyful toys are more your thing, stop into Irving Anderson's shop, We Are One, in the Westview arcade. The small space is crowded with love and there is a little something for every child, along with scented candles, jewelry and crystals.
Locally owned businesses pick the items and products they sell based on what they know you like and want. Local businesses like "We are One" carry a wider array of unique products because they buy for their own individual markets, so tell Anderson what your children are interested in these days; he is always looking for new products to sell and wants to please the smallest Islanders.
Stop into the RIVAA Gallery and peruse an interesting and eclectic collection of paintings and sculpture. Many of the works featured are by local artists, including art by wheelchair bound residents of Coler Hospital on the northern end of the island.
Artwork makes a wonderful and meaningful and completely unique gift for the holidays whose beauty keeps giving and renewing long past the end of the season for giving.
Christmas Tree Pop-Up Shop
There is nothing like bringing home a tree to make the season feel bright. When you buy a fresh Frasier tree from the Christmas tree sale at the Motorgate Rotunda, your purchase will benefit the Parent Teacher’s Association at P.S./I.S. 217.
They will be selling trees weekends through December. Frasier trees are the most richly fragrant of pine trees and are said to stay fresh longer than other trees. Keeping the basin of the stand filled with water is key since cut trees soak up a lot trying to keep those needles quenched.
It’s not the same as going out into the woods to chop down a tree (and I can honestly say I’ve never done that), but a fresh tree brought indoors has a very enlivening and transformative effect on the home. And these particular trees help support enrichment programs for your local public school.
No matter what our faith, or what holiday we celebrate, let us bring in the season together, remembering and kindling the best of what this season has to offer, including love and good will toward our fellow people, faith and support for our neighbors, our friends, and our community, right here on Main Street.