Our ultimate guide to holiday presents from Downtown purveyors.
For an Iconolocastic Accessorizer
Reinerland Jewelry, 162 Allen St.
(betw. Rivington & Stanton Sts.),
Reinerland, the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Cristina Taranu and Reiner Mengesdorf, specializes in one-of-a-kind and custom jewelry with an ancient Roman inspiration. Offering everything from one-of-a-kind engagement rings to masculine rings, Tarau and Mengesdorf present it all on pieces of reclaimed materials such as driftwood salvaged from the East River. For prices, call or email the store.
For the Too-Cool Friend
Warby Parker, 295 Lafayette St.
Ste. 501 (at Houston St.),
Nothing says cool like a pair of slammin’ sunglasses—and none are cooler or chicer than Warby Parker’s. The very chichi store is an appointment-only affair (visit the website to schedule a visit), but it’s hard to argue with products like the Everett, the company’s signature shades priced at a very cool $95. Perfect for the perpetually hung-over friend who is tired of cracking H&M shades after a week.
For the World Traveler
TASCHEN Books, 107 Greene St. (betw. Prince & Spring Sts.), 212-226-2212,
Rather than dealing with the obviousness of cheap travel guides—or the wavering Wi-Fi one finds on foreign streets—this year, give the gift of classiness to your ocean-hopping friend with TASCHEN 4 Cities ($59.99), an easy-to-carry, 12-volume set of guides to London, Paris, Berlin and New York. Your friend may still look like a tourist, but he’ll be a very elegant one.
For the Manly Wine Drinker
Dean & Deluca, 560 Broadway (at Prince St.), 212-226-6800, www.deandeluca.com
In addition to the store’s café and high-end groceries, Dean & Deluca also offers some truly distinguished kitchen utensils—especially the Laguiole Stag Horn corkscrew with leather pouch ($140). Guaranteed to be one-of-a-kind—each corkscrew is made out of naturally shed stag’s horn—it’s the perfect gift to butch up a bottle of wine.
For a Well-Meaning Relative
Cursive New York, ABC Carpet & Home,
888 Broadway (betw. 18th & 19th Sts.), 646-602-3806, www.cursivenewyork.com
Cursive (which also has a location in Grand Central Station) offers a ton of fabulous home décor items and stationery, but don’t encourage your aunt to make you feel guilty by writing you letters on expensive paper to which you’ll never respond. Instead, replace her drugstore pump hand soap with a 16.9-oz. bottle of Savon de Marseille liquid soap ($27.50), available in a variety of scents. We recommend the grapefruit.
For the Big Spending New Yorker
Bond No. 9, 9 Bond St. (betw. Broadway & Lafayette Sts.), www.bondno9.com
On the Bond No. 9 website, the mission for their new collection is quite simple, “To restore artistry to perfumery and to mark every New York neighborhood with a scent of its own.” The widely known perfumer has met both of these goals with their line of scents for almost every nabe in NYC. Our favorites include Washington Square Park, a blend of geranium, tarragon and purple rose, whose bottle is decorated with a lavender-hued depiction of the park ($240 for 100ml, $180 for 50ml), and the refreshing Nouveau Bowery, a mix of lime, basil and wild lily to reflect the gentrifying nabe ($230 for 100ml, $160 for 50 ml).
For the Hopeless Sweet Tooth
Ladurée, 864 Madison Ave. (betw. 70th & 71st Sts.), 646-558-3157
Few desserts are as jam-packed with saccharine as macarons, and while the French will always have us beat in this culinary delight, Paris-based Ladurée opened their first international location in NYC this year. The macarons, at $2.70 a piece, are flown in daily from France. When it comes to sating your sweetie’s sweet tooth, few pastries can beat this crumb-licking treat.
For the Urban Explorer
Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), 303 Lafayette St. (betw. E. Houston & Jersey Sts.),
While in a store as expansive as REI—the Soho location is over 30,000 square feet—it can be difficult to narrow down your present to just one choice. But if your budget only allows for one big sports-themed purchase, we suggest Vibram’s FiveFinger shoes. Most likely you have already seen people at your gym or out on the street partaking in the trendy, colorful, flat, separated-toe footwear; to make sure your loved one isn’t left in the dust, pick up a pair (Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport LS Multisport Shoes, $110) at REI.
For the Techie Who Has Everything
J&R Music and Computer World, 23 Park Row (at City Hall Park), www.jr.com
While J&R is a behemoth 300,000-square-foot complex of gadgets, music, software, housewares, office supplies and even musical instruments, the store is essentially a local success story, started in 1971 on Park Row by newlyweds Joe and Rachelle Friedman. While one can find the staples in electronic wares at J&R, the store still has merchandise to wow and amaze even the savviest techie. Our pick is one of J&R’s top sellers this holiday season, the ION iCADE Arcade Cabinet for the iPad ($99). The product magically turns your ordinary iPad into an old-fashioned arcade, complete with a joystick, buttons and a library of famous Atari games.
For Stocking Stuffers Under $10
Pearl River Mart, 477 Broadway (betw. Broome & Grand Sts.), pearlriver.com
While Pearl River Mart is certainly no longer a well-hidden gem, the store still offers some of the best prices on everything from clocks to lanterns. Some of the store’s best deals can be found in its ceramics section, with a wide selection of designed bowls (6-inch Magnolia bowl, $8.50, Fern Leaf bowl, $7.95). The wares in the store often have a touch from the past, like the Retro Square Wind Up Alarm Clock ($9.50), while other items just add a nice note to a room (Blue Flowers Printed Paper Lantern, $7.50).
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