Ilya Marritz covers business for WNYC.
Holiday shopping season doesn't begin in earnest until after Thanksgiving, but some people are getting an early start at Union Square, where the holiday market opened a week earlier than usual.
Maryann Flanagan from the Bronx says she's always on the hunt for something different. This year, it's coasters printed with unusual vocabulary.
"They're all different words that are no longer in the dictionary," Flanagan said. "Limerinths...Repetricerous?"
With the economic recovery looking shaky, Flanagan plans to spend about the same amount of money on gifts this year as last year.
Dead Sea minerals salesman Fernando Da Silva closed a sale after about 20 minutes of chatting in Japanese with two visitors from the far east. He says you have to make a personal connection to make the sale.
"it's all about being happy, giving people some good service, some good mood, some good product and some good deals," Da Silva said.
A resident of Hawaii, Da Silva says it's well worth it to fly to New York for the holiday season.
"It's not just about the money, it's about the experience," he said. "There's just a parallel universe happening here, different things from all over the world."
Permission to operate a medium-sized booth for five weeks in Union Square costs around $14,000. The group Urban Space was hired by the Union Square Partnership to run the market.
In the coming weeks, holiday markets will open in Columbus Circle and the area near Lincoln Center. Markets are already open in Bryant Park and Grand Central Terminal.