Shopping, Ain't It Grand?

Shopping, Ain't It Grand?

Local independent artists, designers, craft-makers, vintage and antique deals, and artisanal food entrepreneurs. What more can a NYC shopper ask for?

Grand Bazaar is not only the oldest, largest, and most diverse market in the city, it’s a market that gives back to the community. One hundred percent of profits benefit over 2000 children, as they donate proceeds to the following schools: The Parent Associations of P.S. 87, The Computer School, P.S. 334 Anderson School, and M.S. 247 Middle Language Middle School.

Because of the affordable retail spaces, local merchants are also supported. And thanks to them, it’s where the uniqueness comes in. Hundreds of dealers offer goods that can’t easily be found anywhere else. Some don’t even sell online! “Many of them [the vendors] are ‘old school’,” said Marc Seago, who has worked as executive director for the past five years. “They don’t have digital profiles and only sell face-to-face.”

To sustain the “one of a kind” vibe and community spirit, multilevel marketers and mass-produced products are not accepted. Peter Robinson Smith is one of the more unusual dealers. He’s a creator of wire mesh sculptures, also known as shadow optics art. Each piece is distinctive and handmade by Smith, using only his fingernails, scissors, and nails. “Almost everyone stops and is mesmerized by the dancing shadows,” said Seago. There are also statement jewelry pieces designed by artist Anothai Hansen. Her work is created from rarified gemstones and crystals, mined first-hand overseas.

One of the oldest vendors, Mathilde Freund, passed away last year at the age of 103. “She was the wisest and kindest person I’ve ever met,” Seago shared. “She spoke six languages and was an avid reader. She often would quote poems and paragraphs from books. People would be in awe after talking to her. Especially when they found out how old she was. People, young and old, and from all over the world and all walks of life would come looking for her.”

The kinship vendors have with each other makes it feel like a second home to them, according to Seago.

During the Covid lockdown, Grand Bazaar was closed for 15-months. But to support the vendors, they would hold weekly Zoom calls to give marketing presentations to help vendors improve their online and general marketing skills. “We also created an online skill-sharing spreadsheet where vendors could post what they are good at, what help they are looking for, and what services they are looking to barter,” said Seago.

When Grand Bazaar re-opened last June, they didn’t know what to expect. At first only the outdoor area was open to slowly test the waters. With almost 6000 shoppers, it was a success. “From there on, things steadily grew,” said Seago. By the end of September, they were fully booked almost every Sunday. At times there were over 10,000 shoppers passing through!

Grand Bazaar, NYC’s biggest curated weekly market, is open every Sunday, year-round, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 100 W. 77th St. (at Columbus Ave.), Manhattan.

For more information, visit:


Comment on this Article

(Comments will be approved before showing up)