Ok, this is it! Christmas is 4 days away and it’s too late to order something online to arrive in time. So now is the perfect time to go to your local independent shops to find those last minute gifts. You won't find these items in every mall in America. These shops sell unique pieces that are artisanally made in NYC and around the world that make the perfect present and in the process, you will be supporting local business owners who need our help.
Location: 36 Mott Street
Aptly named for the unique curios, jewelry, old post cards, glass bottles and more that they sell. I recently saw vintage sewing machines there that can fit in your hand (and they actually work!). This shop will have the perfect gift for the history buff or lover of all things vintage. Head to Chinatown for bubble tea and some dim sum and then pop over to Uniqulee.
Pearl River Mart
Location: 395 Broadway and Chelsea Market
A New York institution that has home goods, clothes, furniture and accessories by Asian designers. Don't leave without looking at their beautiful selection of plates, cups and teapots. Pearl River Mart opened in 1971 in Chinatown and now has three locations (Tribeca, Chelsea Market and the Museum of Chinese in America). I can't leave there without buying some notecards and paper.
Location: 21 Crosby Street
Dinosaur Designs makes jewelry and tableware out of resin. Resin isn't something you would think of to be sustainable but the resin they use is a waste product of the oil industry that would otherwise be discarded. The things they can make out of waste are truly incredible. Their store in Soho is a colorful explosion of beautiful objects that are wearable and usable.
Location: 6 East 2nd Street
John Derian has been in business since 1989 and is the master of decoupage- the art of cutting and pasting paper that he uses to create plates, bowls, trays, and other decorative items with 18th and 19th century prints. His items are handmade in NYC by artisans and carries textiles, home decor, and more that he designs in collaboration with other artists.
Location: 53 Canal Street
Coming Soon is the place to go for cool, colorful home goods, glassware, rugs, furniture, candles, gifts and more that you won’t see anywhere else. Since 2013, Helena Barquet and Fabiana Faria have been curating objects from small designers from all over the world.
Location: 245 West 29 Street
French Wink is the perfect destination for the francophile in your life. Founded in 2016 by two French women, at French Wink you will find all things French: gourmet food, beauty products, clothing, accessories, books, toys, etc. While you are there, slip in next door for a glass of wine and some french food at OCabanon.
Astro Gallery of Gems
Location: 417 Fifth Avenue at 38th Street
Astro Gallery of Gems is the ideal destination for the nature lover and archeologist in your life. They have thousands of minerals, gems, fossils, jewelry and home decor. A family owned and operated business since 1961 Astro Gallery of Gems was founded by Julio Tanjeloff, an immigrant from Buenos Aires who had a passion for minerals and gems.
Location: 413 West 44 Street
You can find something for everyone at this “unaffected living” gift store. Owners Luisa and Nicki travel the world in search of hand crafted artisanally made goods. The store is small so they are reserving time slots to shop so call ahead.
Fine and Dandy
Location: 445 West 49 Street
If you are looking for something for the best dressed man in your life this is the place to go. Fine And Dandy is a line of dandy-inspired men’s accessories made in the USA: ties, bow ties, cummerbunds, handkerchiefs, scarves, neckerchiefs, hats, tie bars, lapel pins, cufflinks, collar bars, watch straps, money clips, key rings, suspenders, sock and shirt garters, belts, spats, dog collars and leashes, and more.
Location: 488 Amsterdam Ave at 84th Street.
Magpie is a great place for eco-friendly gifts for the home, jewelry, accessories, stationary and toys. Many are locally made, constructed from recycled, sustainable materials or handcrafted by fair trade cooperatives from around the world. One thing that caught my eye were handmade bags that were naturally dyed by fishermen in Laos. The bags look fragile but the special reeds make them incredibly strong.
Location: 950 Lexington Avenue at 68th Street
Sara is a little gem of a store. Founder Kumi Oniki has been bringing high-quality Japanese tableware to the lives on New Yorkers since 1989. Each unique, handmade piece has a one-of-a-kind craftsmanship and is a work of art that you will cherish for a lifetime.
Location: 1283 Madison Avenue at 91st Street
This shop is full of things that you have not seen anywhere else. They have an eclectic mix of women's clothing, jewelry, home goods, toys, art and more. Blue Tree is owned by actress Phoebe Cates so you may catch a glimpse of her or husband Kevin Klein.