What I Learned from Only Shopping at Local Bronx Businesses for the Holidays

Taking on the Bronx Holiday Shopping Challenge was just that, challenging. I travelled all over the borough and had to do a good deal of research, but overall I learned a lot. Specifically, that while shopping local can be a little stressful because many businesses do not have a strong online presence and much of your shopping is done by going there in person, I had really great conversations and interactions with local business owners. They even came with special touches, like free gift wrapping (far better than I could ever do!), discounts, and freebies.

It was a challenge to be open-minded and to sometimes think outside of the box if I couldn’t find exactly what I had in mind. Case in point, I wanted to find a nice terrycloth bathrobe for the fiancee, but apparently, we just don’t do those lol. We do flannel and super soft cotton, but, no, not terry cloth. So, I opted for accessories¬†for his fancy camera. The robe will have to wait until his birthday next month. ūüôā

Full List:

UFO Necklace, Zen Lunatic

Peppa Pig Beanie Babies with free key chain, Castle Hill Toys & Games

Burgundy Sweater, Adja’s Boutique

Coquito, Port Morris Distillery

Tirado Moonshine, Tirado Distillery via  Wine and Liquor Super Store (Side note: This place always has tastings, which is amazing!)

Two pairs of girls’ Pajama Pants, Brand Names for Less (which has the look and feel of a 99 cent store, which I wanted to avoid. BUT, they did have many brand name clothing items such as Vince Camuto, Calvin Klein, etc. Some items were priced as high as $80, so decidedly not a discount store in the traditional sense.)

Two pairs of earrings from Paper Crane Heart via Bronx Museum Holiday Market

The Last Puerto Rican Indian by Bobby Gonzalez, Bronx Museum Gift Shop

Tea kettle, Cee & Cee Department Store

Word Search book, Cee & Cee Department Store

The Big Snow and Other Stories Wave Hill Gift Shop (Signed up for my IDNYC membership while I was here. The staff was so wonderful and friendly. Plus, they were having a members only holiday sale with 20% off gift shop items!)

Conch earrings, Native Tec via Bronx Museum Holiday Market

NYC Taxi Driver Calendar via Bronx Museum Holiday Market (The perfect gag gift!)

Morris Perk Bronx blend coffee, Morris Perk via Bronx Museum Holiday Market

Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels, The Chocolate Place




Ferragosto 2015

Ferragosto, an Italian festival that celebrates the end of the harvest season and typically celebrated in August, came to the Bronx’s Little Italy this past Sunday (marking over 15 years of the celebration of the occasion in the neighborhood).

This was my first Ferragosto and I now know it will certainly not be my last. I only took one picture because I was constantly stuffing my face (good thing I dragged my ass to the gym that morning.) People came from all over, crowding the booths and vendors to indulge in the best that Arthur Ave. has to offer. ¬†I had a sausage and peppers sandwich (sweet) from Vincent’s Meat Market that changed my life. It was so delicious and you could tell all of the ingredients were super fresh. I also had a cannoli from Madonia’s Bakery where they fill it beyond the shell for just $1.50.

We also sampled some wine and cider from La Cantina Wine & Liquors and ended up buying Mochetto and True Believer Hard Cider. Tirado Distillery, based right here in the Bronx, was also providing a tasting of their corn whiskey mixed with passionfruit juice. I’m not typically a whiskey drinker, but I will certainly make an exception because it was smooth and the flavors blended together so well.

Right before it began to rain, we settled in at John’s Pizza for some fried calamari and a Margherita pizza. We walked back home — about a 20 minute walk — because we had to burn off all of those calories somehow!