by Bill Batson
As autumn darkens into winter, we all crave light and life-affirming contact with friends and family. Especially a pandemic weary public hoping to salvage a holiday season where masks and social distancing have derailed crowded holiday gatherings. This year, in addition to cuckcoo clocks, nut-crackers and beer steins, Hickory Dickory Dock imported a cultural antidote from Germany that offers some festive relief.
German Weihnachtsmarks or Christmas Market’s fill town squares with light and community. This year, Hickory Dickory Dock’s recently remodeled front and side yard allows the positive energy of crafting and gifting to spill outside their shop.
Winter Delight Market at
Hickory Dickory Dock Vendors include Hickory Dickory Dock, Nyack Sketch Log, Hera Bloom and Rebecca’s Paradise, Pied a Terre with complimentary Tea Hudson Market on Main. 11a – 5p Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through December 20th from 11a – 5p at the corner of Main and Broadway.
Winter WanderlandNyack’s Winter Wanderland showcases the best of what Nyack has to offer every Saturday and Sunday through February 28, 2021. “wander” through our wonderful village to enjoy seasonal delights, such as sidewalk shopping and winter markets, hearty food and hot drinks, festive lights, the warmth of fire pits, and the joy of beautiful music. Nyack offers unique dining, shopping and service experiences, coupled with breathtaking views and access to the Hudson River – all concentrated within a friendly, easily walkable map for “wandering.” Nyack and its businesses have been working tirelessly to protect residents and visitors from Corona virus spread. Visitors can relax, wander the village, and enjoy everything Nyack has to offer – safely. Masks and social distancing required!
Nyack Outdoor Winter Farmer’s Market Nyack’s Farmer’s Market will stay outside this winter to provide the public a safe shopping object. Every Thursday, some of your favorite vendors will operate during shorten hours from 9a – until 1p in the Main Street Parking Lot. If you want to shop local, and avoid crowded stores during the height of the COVID-pandemic, the Nyack Farmer’s Market is an excellent open air option
For over 30 years, Hickory Dickory Dock has welcomed visitors into their European Advent themed interior. Now, they’ve turned their shop inside out, offering handcrafted collectables as well as the work of local artisans under tents festooned with lights. Their Winter Delights Market will operate on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until December 20th.
Hickory Dickory Dock began to tick tock 33 years ago when attorney and civic leader John Costa learned that a Nyack couple was no longer able to manage their small clock shop. Costa had always been interested in clock making and his parents had owned a small retail shop in Bergen County when he was a child.
Because of the demands of his law practice, Costa had to convince his wife, a painter and graphic artist, to support the venture. Norma Costa’s natural affinity for aesthetics and craftsmanship has developed into an aptitude for the mechanics of clock making and repair. Their daughter Loreen, who manages the day-to-day operation, has traveled to Germany annually for the last 24 years to build relationships with the craftspeople that make Hickory Dickory Dock’s clocks and collectibles.
The business is in its third location. They started out in half of the space that is now the Runcible Spoon. Their next venue was at the corner of Franklin and Main St. that has since become the Murasaki restaurant. In 1999, they moved into their current location, a building that was once White’s Funeral Home.
“This is a perfect location for us,” said Loreen. “A rectangular store creates a conveyor belt where people move quickly up one side and down the other, but the nooks and crannies of this old building allow people to linger and settle in.”
The floors, shelves, walls and display cases of Hickory Dickory Dock hold hundreds of toys, seasonal decorations, nutcrackers, beer steins and jewelry, but clocks dominate the space. There are clocks for the wall, floor, desk and mantle. The constant movement of dials and pendulums and the music of clocks marking time are the soundtrack of the store. “We try to avoid the cacophony of having them set to chime at the same time, but we make sure that when you’re in the store, at least one of our clocks is always speaking to you,” Loreen said.
Hickory Dickory Dock represents some of the finest clock makers in the world including Chelsea of Boston, Comitti of London, Hermle of Germany and Howard Miller of Zeeland, Michigan.
The centerpiece of the clock collection are the cuckoos. A back wall of the main room of the shop is covered, salon style with dozens of cuckoo clocks. With their hand carved moving figurines and distinctive sound, the elaborate timepieces are the pride of the black forest in Germany. The craftspeople of this region are credited with inventing clock making.
During a family trip in 1991 to visit the family-run factories that produce the clocks that they sell, the Costas decided to expand their business to include holiday decorations.
“Many of our Christmas traditions, from the Christmas tree to the practice of counting down the days that are a part of Advent are from Germany,” said Costa. “Our Santa Claus looks and behaves like their Saint Nicholas, who in German legend fills shoes that children leave out with sweets. A major difference in our Christmas custom is the character of Krampus. Where our Santa withholds gifts from those on the naughty list, in German folklore krampus visits bad children to deliver a lump of coal and a few whacks with a thin switch,” she said.
Hickory Dickory Dock now has decorations for a variety of seasonal holidays, and works with crafts people from around the world. What all of the items have in common is that they share the stories of the families and regions of the craftspeople who create them.
And while the Costas have spent years developing relationships with artists and crafts people, Loreen knows that the real story begins when someone comes into her shop. “When one of our customers selects an item to be a part of their family holiday tradition or to a honor a special event like a birth, that object becomes part of their family’s story,” Costa proudly acknowledged.
Hickory Dickory Dock is located at 43 South Broadway. Their Winter Delights Market operated Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through December 20th.
The cuckoo clock in my sketch was made in Germany by Anton Schneider.
Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. “Nyack Sketch Log: Hickory Dickory Dock” © 2020 Bill Batson.