Brooklyn’s New York Puzzle Company a hit at holiday markets

Adam Silver,  co-founder of  the Brooklyn-based New York Puzzle Company, is adding Times Square to the business' list of holiday pop-up locations.
Adam Silver, co-founder of the Brooklyn-based New York Puzzle Company, is adding Times Square to the business’ list of holiday pop-up locations. Photo Credit: Netflix

Adam Silver has only a few days to set up his shop at the Winter Village at Bryant Park — including installing the floors, shelving and lighting — and less than a day to take it down.

Still, the co-founder of Brooklyn’s-own New York Puzzle Company joyfully does it each year.

Silver was working as an attorney in 2007 when he and his co-founder, Sarah Dickinson, started the company out of his Flatiron apartment with an MTA subway map jigsaw puzzle.

The company added puzzles from vintage magazine covers, and in 2011 Silver quit his job and moved to south Park Slope, where he runs the business today.

“We started basically because I was a pretty big puzzler as a kid and there were no puzzles out in the market that we were really appealing to anyone that didn’t like . . . unicorns, rainbows and stuff like that,” he said. “We wanted something that people might want to actually put together, frame, glue, hang on their walls.”

The company, which sells at Barnes and Noble and independent bookshops year-round, first set up at the Union Square Holiday Market a few years ago. They added Bryant Park last year, and will have a third pop-up in Times Square this year.

Europeans, he said, are big puzzlers.

“In a holiday market setting, it’s a lot of tourists who come through here, so they’re looking for New York-themed items that are not overly touristy [like] you can get in any sort of gift shop in Times Square,” Silver said. “Covers of the New Yorker, while having a New York theme, are maybe a little more sophisticated for the average tourist coming in.”

Some puzzles feature city-centric magazines, such as the New Yorker’s1939 cover illustration of the Lower East Side, inviting a take-home glimpse into an idealistic New York City. More commercial options, like Harry Potter puzzles, appeal to a broad audience.

During a weekend in the midtown holiday pop-up, Silver said, the shop will sell about 350 puzzles. So far, sales in Bryant Park are up about 40 percent over last year. The No. 1 seller in Bryant Park is “Skating in the Park,” a New Yorker cover of a winter scene in Central Park, and it regularly sells out.

Shopper Rebeca Arteaga, 41, from Fairview, New Jersey, was drawn to the shop because of the hands-on nature of puzzles, and the fact there were “no electronics.”

Arteaga purchased a mermaid tea party illustration for a birthday gift and planned to come back for a Harry Potter puzzle for her son for Christmas.

“I like the drawings, it’s very artistic,” she said, adding that puzzles feel like going “back to a simple time. We need downtime, but relaxing, disconnected.”

The puzzles range from $10 for a mini version to $30 for a 2,000-piece puzzle.

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