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Grand Central Holiday Market Opens as Vendors Recover From Sandy

By Mary Johnson | November 12, 2012 4:38pm

MIDTOWN — Grand Central Terminal’s annual holiday market opened Monday, with 19 new vendors and several shops that overcame destruction from Hurricane Sandy to sell their wares at the popular fair.

Shoppers browsing the market's dozens of stalls can find vintage-inspired baby clothing, decorative ornaments, elaborate hats, outerwear made from sustainable fabrics, pet-inspired jewelry, handcrafted wooden handbags, artisanal foods made in Brooklyn and many other products at a variety of price points.

Valentina Guazzoni said her company, Josh Bach, which manufactures ties, boxers and other men’s gifts, battled darkness and cold to prepare for the Grand Central holiday fair, where the company has been a fixture for at least 10 years.

Guazzoni, the company’s retail and merchandising director, said the first and only Josh Bach retail store at the South Street Seaport, which opened this past April, was completely destroyed in the storm.

“We were hit by the surge, which, at its peak, forced about 7 1/2 to 8 feet of water into our store,” Guazzoni said.

Everything inside was destroyed and had to be tossed out, she added.

The company’s wholesale office is also located at the Seaport, but it is situated on the second floor. It was dry but had no power, Guazzoni said. And even though no one was allowed back into the building, she and some of her employees went anyway, working by the light of headlamps affixed to their hats.

“We worked literally in the dark,” Guazzoni said. “But we had no choice.”

“Thank God we have this outlet,” she added. “Being here means very much to our company."

Competition is fierce for the limited number of stalls at the annual holiday fair. An open call for applications was issued in March, and more than 300 vendors applied.

That list was then carefully whittled down to 76, including many companies that are based in and manufacture in New York City.

With Love From Brooklyn, a company that curates products from more than 30 food artisans throughout Brooklyn, is making its first appearance at the fair this year.

“I try to pick the best of the best of what’s going in Brooklyn,” said Dara Furlow, a trained chef who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Furlow, who owns the company that launched this past December, said she too struggled to prepare for the market. Many of her vendors lost power or suffered flood damage during Hurricane Sandy. Some haven’t had time to cook because they’ve been busy pitching in with the volunteer effort, she added.

“I still don’t have all my stock because people got behind and couldn’t deliver,” Furlow said. “It was just really hard for everyone, and everyone’s playing catch-up now.”

The holiday fair at Grand Central Terminal will be open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., until Dec. 24. It will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.