Whether you need just a few more items to check off your holiday shopping list or you haven’t even started thinking about it yet, follow our guide to make this year’s gift-giving totally stressfree. We’ve rounded up the 40 best presents that are uniquely New York for every type of Big Apple dweller, from the transit nerd and the foodie to the architecture buff and bookworm. Priced between $10 and $295, recommended gifts include everything from a cheese class with Murray’s Cheese to a walking tour of Flushing, Queens.
- Cheese class with Murray’s Cheese ($75- $110)- A hands-on lesson in cheese (and happiness) may be the perfect experience for the food-obsessed. And who knows cheese better than Murray’s Cheese? From “Mozzarella Making” to “Pairing Perfection,” Murray’s offers a wide variety of tasty events to thrill every type of foodie.
- The “Taste of New York” package from Katz’s Delicatessen ($150)- Try not to salivate when reading what is inside Katz’s Taste of New York package: pastrami, corned beef, hard salami, sour pickles, rye bread, fan-favorite frankfurters, sides like mustard and sauerkraut, and six classic bagels. There may not be a more New York gift out there.
- An “All the Restaurants in New York” print ($95)- Every foodie has an NYC restaurant that is theirs. Why not give them a drawing of their favorite? John Donohue, the man behind “All the Restaurants in New York,” a “never-ending visual exploration of New York City’s culinary offerings,” is on a mission to sketch every restaurant in the city, as part of a book deal. Before the book debuts, Donohue is selling prints of the restaurants on his website, which offers a hefty alphabetical list of restaurant prints available for purchase.
- Magnolia Bakery lapel pin ($12)- Every New Yorker has a favorite dessert from Magnolia Bakery- and now the sweet treat can be worn. The bakery offers little lapel pins, from the classic Carrie cupcake to a container banana pudding container. Or, for those of us who can’t decide, get all three.
- “Happy to Serve You” cup ($13.50)- The blue-and-white cup first became an icon of New York City in 1963 when Leslie Buck, a Czech-American immigrant, designed the first ever to-go coffee cup to appeal to Greek-owned coffee shops and diners. Now an important symbol of the Big Apple, this ceramic version of the famous “We Are Happy to Serve You” cup is the perfect accessory for every java-drinking New Yorker.
- New York token watch ($195)- This watch offers a bit of transit nostalgia, with its center 70’s era subway token. The watch has a stainless steel case and is licensed by the New York City Transit Authority.
- Blue MetroCard pouch ($10)- Besides an actual MetroCard, this clutch will become your most useful New York accessory. Give a transit lover this gift so they remember forever the iconic design of the MetroCard, which won’t be around for much longer. It also comes in a flashy gold option.
- 1970 NYC Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual ($54.95)-A must-have for every lover of Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda’s modernist work for the New York City Transit Authority. The manual includes descriptions of the design and construction for the NYC subway signs that are still used today.
- Silver MetroCard charm ($68)- This solid sterling silver charm celebrates the 468-stop subway system with a Simone De Beauvoir quote on the back: “There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless.”
- Subway logo train ornament ($16)-While we’d be surprised if anyone is feeling particularly prideful in their subway line lately, this simple subway logo-decorated ornament is perfect for any train enthusiast. Each ornament is created by hand, with no two the exact same.
- The Great Escape ($99)- Rather than using your building’s outdated, rusty fire escape to show off plants, this shelving unit sold on Uncommon Goods provides a much safer option. While a grill or lawn chair won’t fit on this “mountable emergency exit,” it can hold 15 pounds worth of artwork and tchotchkes, while also honoring one of the most recognizable architectural elements of NYC apartments.
- Blueprint of Brooklyn Bridge ($160)- This Etsy seller has a bridge to sell you. Well, a blueprint of one. For your favorite infrastructure wonk and bridge buff, buy them this handmade replica of the architectural plan for one of New York’s most iconic bridges, the 135-year-old Brooklyn Bridge.
- NYC Skyline Chess Set ($135)- This chess set lets you checkmate with the beloved buildings that make up the NYC skyline. The 32-piece game set captures the city’s early 1900s construction boom, as well as the expansion of skyscraper architecture. MoMa is selling it online at a discount for members.
- Water Tower Decorative Container ($55)- A perfect ode to NYC for urban planning New Yorkers, this decorative water tower makes a cute and handy holder for keys and coins. And like the real things, this water tower is sturdy, made of hand-welded natural steel.
- Splendid Structures of New York City print ($30)- Every building-know-it all’s favorite icebreaker question is ‘What’s your favorite building in New York? Get them this handy breakdown of the most splendid structures in the city so their guests always have an acceptable answer.
- ‘Brooklyn, I Love You zippered pouch‘ ($10)- For the Brooklynite who can’t stop bragging about how much they love their borough, get them this cute, but, simple pouch. From Lovewild Design, each pouch is hand printed.
- Brooklyn “Map from the Mind” ($22)- A mental map of the entire borough, this print offers a simplified look at every Brooklyn neighborhood. The designer behind the map used circles to “convey size and connection.”
- “Cawffee” Mug ($18)- From Fishs Eddy’s hilarious “Brooklynese” collection, this mug is a good fit for any BK native. For a more complete set, check out the store’s “buttah” dish or “shuguh” bowl.
- BuildYourBlock pillows ($36-$175)-These collectible pillows let you “build your own block” using pillows that look like Brooklyn buildings. In the Bed-Stuy collection, pillows include the Throop Deli, Willoughby Townhouse, and Vernon Brownstone. For Fort Greene, get your hands on the pillow form of an Ashland building, an Oxford Brownstone, and the Elliot House.
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden membership ($65)- Give your friends and family the gift of nature this year with a membership to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, first founded in 1910. In addition to providing unlimited access to green space, membership benefits include access to special events, discounts on classes and at the garden shop, seasonal bloom alerts, and more.
- NYC Skyline Architectural Bookmarks ($11)- These affordable bookmarks are perfect for the bookworm in your life that also NYC skyline savvy. Made of stainless steel, the set, which includes the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and others, is produced to scale and is 5,000 times smaller than the iconic landmarks.
- “Lost Brooklyn” ($19.95)- Learn about Brooklyn’s unique and storied history through the structures and beloved buildings its lost over time. “Lost in Brooklyn” examines the borough’s losses from earliest to the latest, ranging from the Brooklyn Navy Hospital to the Williamsburg Plaza.
- “The Women Who Made New York” ($24)- Shining a light on so many women whose accomplishments were erased, “The Women Who Made New York,” highlights untold stories of the women who made NYC the “cultural epicenter of the world.” Revolutionaries include those well known, Zora Neale Hurston, Audre Lorde, Fran Lebowitz, Grace Jones, and those that have stayed under the radar, like Emily Warren Roebling.
- Strand Books gift card ($10-$250)- Every bookworm could always use more books. With a gift card to one of NYC’s most legendary bookstores, the Strand, which also boasts 18 miles of new and used books, the options are endless.
- NYPL Library Lion bookends ($150)- Your favorite bibliophile can read between the lions with these bookends, modeled after the iconic marble statues that flank the entrance to the New York Public Library. The lions, just five pounds each, would complete any home library
- New York Marathon map ($28)- This hand-drawn map is the perfect gift for runners who have participated in one of NYC’s greatest sporting events and want to commemorate their accomplishment, or for those who aspire to one day cross the finish line.
- 1994 set of 5 Rangers MetroCards ($120)- Get your hands on this limited-edition set of five New York Rangers MetroCards, first released after the team won the Stanley Cup in 1994. While the cards can no longer be swiped at the turnstile, they’ll look great on display. There’s a limited quantity left as only 10,000 were made at the time.
- Yankees or Citi Field Stadium blueprint pillow ($100)- For the die-hard Mets or Yankees fan, consider buying this decorative pillow that celebrates both the team and the architectural history of the ballpark. One side features a blueprint illustration of the stadium, with the other listing major team events and information on the ballpark’s design.
- Brooklyn Eagles 1935 baseball cap ($49)- The Brooklyn Eagles, part of the Negro National League, lasted just one season in 1935 at Ebbets Field. The team later merged with the Newark Dodgers, becoming the Newark Eagles in 1936. Despite their short life, the Brooklyn Eagle’s cap makes a great gift for a hipster baseball fan, or for one who just can’t choose between rooting for the Mets or the Bronx Bombers.
- Season pass at LeFrak Center ($20-$140)- Prospect Park’s LeFrak Center offers season passes for a variety of activities, including boating, bike, roller skating, and ice skating. For the newbies, this pass also comes with discounted skating school and items at Bluestone Cafe.
- Poster Screen Printing Kit ($295)- Have a friend aspiring to be the next Pop-Art prince or princess? Buy them this poster screen printing kit from the Whitney Museum. The kit includes a press, screen, squeegees, inks, eco-friendly cleaners, and a DVD with a step-by-step guide, all to make creating wearable art a breeze.
- Polaroid OneStep 2 Instant Camera ($120)- Get this Polaroid for the aspiring photographer in your life who, like most New Yorkers, don’t like waiting for anything. The film is sold separately, but the camera does include a long-lasting rechargeable battery, perfect for capturing those late-night shots of NYC.
- Jean-Michel Basquiat print from MoMA ($200)- The MoMA gift store is selling reproductions of beloved late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work from the collection featured at the museum. To inspire any aspirational artist, buy them one of these prints, created by an artist who went from homeless to selling artwork for thousands of dollars.
- Brooklyn Brainery gift certificate (typically between $5-$75)- While the Brooklyn Brainery offers classes on a wide range of subjects (like the art of networking and buying a home), their art courses are some of the best, and most affordable, ways to learn a new medium. A gift certificate can be easily bought online and printed or emailed to the artsy recipient.
- Membership to the New Museum ($70)- Perfect for the creative type, this membership to the New Museum provides a first look at the latest contemporary art. Membership comes with unlimited free admission, half-price admission for two guests, and discounts on tickets and museum store items.
- Flushing Walking Tour ($100)- Exploring one of New York City’s more lesser known historic areas, this 60-minute walking tour takes visitors through the Flushing Freedom Mile. The tour hits 21 historic sites in the Queens neighborhood, all with some connection to freedom, including stops on the Underground Railroad.
- Municipal Art Society of New York’s tour of Grand Central Terminal ($30)- This 75-minute daily tour is led by GCT-obsessed docents and takes visitors through the storied terminal, starting in the main concourse. Learning about this state-of-the-art architectural treasure should not be missed for any lover of history.
- New-York Historical Society membership ($100)- Not only does a membership to the New-York Historical Society provide ultimate access to the city’s oldest museum, it also helps support the society’s many programs. Members of the New-York Historical Society get invited to exclusive events, special tours, receive discounts and includes membership in the history book club.
- Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1889 to 1919 ($25)- The sequel to the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Gotham,” Mike Wallace’s “Greater Gotham,” explores the history of New York from the 1898 skyscraper boom to just after World War I, when the city became the financial capital of the world. As NPR Books wrote in its review, “The average reader will find herself eager to pick up the book–and not just for the bicep curls.”
- United Nations tour ($22)- While the United Nations is a global institution, it remains a unique part of New York City history since its founding in 1945. In addition to having a stand-out exterior, the UN features ornate murals and iconic artwork, which all can be viewed during the tour. The guided tour is led by one of the UN’s 24 multilingual tour guides, who speak over 10 languages.
- Storefront photos taken by James and Karla Murray ($99- $150)-Husband-and-wife photographers James and Karla Murray are selling prints of many of their favorite NYC storefronts. For $150, the prints will be printed on Kodak Professional Endura Luster paper, mounted, and framed in a white letterbox style-frame. Without the frame, prints cost $99, shipping including.
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