MetroTech Commons opens first-ever holiday village

Belle Waera was happy to be able to sell her wares at the Holiday Village at MetroTech Commons.
Photo by Dean Moses

A traditional sign of the holiday season, pop-up markets across New York have had to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic — keeping shoppers safe while also giving businesses a chance to succeed in difficult times.

This year, Brookfield Properties erected its first-ever Holiday Village at MetroTech Commons in Downtown Brooklyn. The main plaza has been transformed into a socially-distant winter wonderland that opened during the late afternoon on Dec. 2.

The courtyard is lined with elaborate ice sculptures, with a gigantic Christmas tree adorned with an assortment of lights and baubles serving as the centerpiece of the festive display. The chilled statues are shaped into a collection of animals both mythical and natural, including snails, reindeer, hawks, and even a Sasquatch.

An ice sculpture at the holiday market.Photo by Dean Moses

Surrounding this fenced-off plaza stands a row of stalls where arisen merchants have setup their wares.

Corinne Wright’s outlet rests on the far end of the square, where she represents both Aech & Babu and Da Spot, designers of handmade clothing. Wright is excited to be a part of the holiday village and everything it represents.

“With COVID, the open air is the safest bet for everyone, so while I am excited to introduce this new brand into the world, I want people to be alive in 2021 to enjoy it. Also, being able to do something festive and fun after such a crazy year just felt like the right thing to be a part of,” Wright said.

Corinne Wright is glad to be working outdoors to maintain social distancing.Photo by Dean Moses

While sellers like Wright are thrilled to unveil their brands, others like Cassandra Lamb, who for the last two years has been onsite at the now terminated Union Square market, are just happy to be able to make sales after months of shutdowns and canceled events.

“COVID definitely affected initial plans of what we were going to do, like Bryant Park and Union Square were canceled. It took a toll on what your plans were, but everybody had to learn how to pivot and find a new path,” Lamb said. “We were like, ‘What are we going to do now?’ when Union Square was canceled, but we are here now and this is great.”

The holiday market is made up of more than 25 mostly borough-based vendors, who sell everything from beauty products and imaginative fashion to plants and wine.

This story first appeared on AMNY.com.