Best gift shops: Boerum Hill

Find out where to shop for gifts in this Brooklyn neighborhood.

Photograph: Christian Hartman
Blue Ribbon General Store

Critics' picks

Layla

Critics' pick

Owner Alayne Patrick works with Indian craftsmen to dream up the exquisite offerings at her jewel-box–like boutique. Its white walls and dark-wood floors are a low-key showcase for Patrick’s vibrantly hued, hand-picked treasures from South Asia. Textiles are paramount here. Choose from a selection of hand-embroidered quilts from Bangladesh and scarves from all over the world. The store is also know for its amazing towel selection, comprised of swaths of fabric gorgeous enough to be worn as accessories. Pair them with Layla Collection color block-print clothing.

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Boerum Hill

More shops for gifts in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

Rime

Critics' pick

After spending 30 years as a retail buyer in New York (culminating in a stint as head buyer at Michael K.), Susan Boyle decided to branch out on her own, opening Rime in 2007. On the racks, you’ll find gear by labels like Obey, 10 Deep, Stüssy, Penfield, Huf and Undefeated, but Rime’s real draw is its extensive collection of footwear gems. Look for suede Jack Purcell boat shoes ($85), classic Timberland suede hiking boots with waterproof Gore-Tex lining ($200) and Clae denim canvas slip-ons ($65). And then there are the sneakers: Vintage Nike All Court Lows with the signature swoosh ($30); Nike Classic Air Escapes ($100); camouflage-print canvas sneakers that are a collaboration between 10 Deep and ProKeds ($110); and Jeremy Scott x Adidas Originals kicks, which have a full-fledged teddy bear integrated into the tongue ($220), will have serious shoe collectors salivating. Limited-edition Obey tri-blend tees ($35) feature a color screen print of a city street with artist Shepard Fairey’s famous Obey Giant visible in the background. Fred Perry bomber jackets adorned with the brand’s iconic laurel on the chest are summer staples ($158), while Obey relaxed-rise skinny jeans stay crisp all year ($98). Though Rime is primarily geared toward men, there are a few solid items for the ladies, including Jack Purcell glossy leather slip-on boat shoes ($80) and lightweight slim-fit graphic tees from Obey ($28).

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Boerum Hill

At Wilderness

Since 2012, herbalist Anit Hora has created budget-friendly skin-care products for her beauty line, Mullein & Sparrow. You’ll find the complete line (and more) at this new apothecary shop, which she co-owns with Lori Labedz. Look for locally made remedies like Himalayan bath salts ($40) and facial detox kits ($25), as well as merch from Brooklyn faves like Catbird (rose-gold threadbare rings are $44) and MCMC (Hunter roll-on perfume oil is $45).

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Boerum Hill

Callalilai

Hogo Natsuwa’s imaginative digital-print cotton and jersey knit dresses ($89–$219) spring out of ideas that come from his travels. Natsuwa infuses his bold patterns with Moroccan, Indian and folkloric motifs, while focusing on unexpected silhouettes.

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Boerum Hill

Flight 001

Critics' pick

During an Air France flight in 1998, business travelers John Sencion and Brad John came up with the idea for this streamlined shop, which carries everything a frequent flyer could need under one roof. That of course includes a sturdy bag, and you’ll find plenty of fashion-forward options toward the back of the modern white space, including Lipault lightweight nylon duffels ($190), Herschel Supply Co. color-blocked duffel bags with built-in shoe compartments ($100) and Hideo Wakamatsu trolleys ($190) made of tarpaulin fabric, a flexible, water-resistant material. Fill your new luggage with functional travel accessories, such as Maptote denim Dopp kits ($30) emblazoned with drawings of essential toiletries and house-line SpacePak three-piece nylon bag sets ($98) that organize and compress items to conserve valuable suitcase space. Mention TONY for 15 percent off all purchases (excluding gift cards) through June 7.

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Boerum Hill

Artez'n Gift & Gallery

You could get a crash course in Brooklyn style at this boutique-cum-gallery, fueling borough pride with quirky purses and silk-screened baby onesies. Need to become Brooklyn certified, and fast? Flash back, ironically, with a shrinky dink–making class ($40, booze included), score some activist “Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn” wear ($28) and doodle in a retro-minded Barbie coptic-bound journal ($25). Surrounded by all those local artists, you’ll be scoffing your way across the Manhattan bridge in no time.

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Boerum Hill

Dry Goods

Heritage is the theme at this general store, so nearly every item stocked by owners Carla and Rita Brookoff is heirloomworthy and made in its company's home country. In the narrow, cozy space with hardwood floors and vintage wallpaper, you’ll find classic pieces from firms that have been around since the 19th century, including Pendleton throws ($88-–$108) and pillows ($50), Stanley thermoses ($25–$45), glass carafe-and-tumbler sets by Netherlands company Royal VKB ($36) and handmade British Brady over-the-shoulder leather cartridge bags ($375–$425). There are also well-made products from newer companies such as Found My Animal reclaimed-leather dog collars ($30–$42); MYdrap linen place mats (12 for $36) and cotton napkins (25 for $28) from France; Merchant and Mills sewing boxes ($72) including needles, scissors and tape measure; and Mayron’s Goods Road Packs ($48) full of travel-size, all-natural products (diaper cream, gentle body wash, lotion and lip/cheek balm) that are perfect for new parents.

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Boerum Hill

Grumpy Bert

This kitschy shop stocks handmade gifts, vintage collectibles and local artwork. Previously a vendor at the Dekalb Market, owner Albert Chau fills the space with quirky items such as Sweet and Sour Goodies felt gnomes ($28), Tea for Two matryoshka teapots ($48) and vintage Dinobots Transformers ($45). With a gallery vibe in the front of the store and a cozy couch in the back, Chaun hopes to cultivate a collective of artists with in-store shows, film panels and seminars.

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Boerum Hill

Acorn Toy Shop

Acorn stocks more educational and community-minded toys than you can shake an artisan-made rattle at. Mack play tents in bright colors replace the old-fashioned pillow-and-blanket fort, and a wooden animal menagerie has all the variety of Noah’s Ark without the pesky religious literalism. Playthings don’t come cheap, but not a single toy sold by Acorn has been recalled in more than three years.

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Boerum Hill

Exit 9

This oddball shop is like Spencer’s for grown-ups—except there are no naked fat-lady greeting cards. Gags and gaffs abound, whether they’re virtually useless (Believe in God breath spray, denture-shaped ice-cube trays) or surprisingly useful (sturdy wallets, pencils shaped like drumsticks). This is indisputably the neighborhood’s go-to spot for wacky games, goofy cards, silly stocking-stuffers and everything in between.

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Boerum Hill

Sterling Place

Nicknamed Brooklyn's Antiques Row, Atlantic Avenue is becoming as much a destination for contemporary home goods as it is for old relics. Among the top sources for decor is warm Boerum Hill emporium Sterling Place. Dotting the hardwood floors are modern dwelling dressings, tabletop goods and the occasional refurbished antique, such as a 40-drawer 1920s apothecary cabinet ($2,600). Smaller housewarming goodies, such as a cozy Nina Campbell lambswool throw ($296) and a hand-painted red-umber sushi set for two ($144) are just the touches to make an apartment a sterling place in its own right.

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Boerum Hill

Collier West

Suzi West and Mary Jo Collier Pile moved their successful home-decor shop from Columbus, Ohio, to Brooklyn in order to grow their business in the city that has served as a source of inspiration to them for years. The pair have worked together for the past decade, curating goods for such big-box retailers as Limited Brands, Aéropostale and Kiehl’s before deciding to launch their own retail project in 2005. The store stocks one-of-a-kind furniture, antiques, jewelry and curiosities, imbued with luxury, humor and a passion for great style, culled from many different eras. West focuses her discerning eye (cultivated over years spent as a visual merchandiser and designer) on a unique mix of beautiful items created by artisans from around the globe, sourcing them from Midwest tag sales or on trips to Paris. Highlights include the brand’s rustic, custom-designed chandeliers made from hickory branches ($4,100), handmade necklaces from Velvet Antler by Maggie Smith ($425) and Pont Neuf ($288), Fornasetti porcelain plates ($200) and Match pewter martini glasses ($100 each). The next time you’re in a pinch for a gift, pick up Waverly and Irving handmade candles ($78) and cards by Erica DiPaolo, Blue Barnhouse and Bella Muse ($6–$13).

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Boerum Hill

Fusion Designs Gallery

Nestled along a commercial stretch of a Brooklyn street better known for its Middle Eastern restaurants, bars, and more recently, a couple of ubiquitous big-box shops, this pristine boutique-gallery is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Uniting the expertise of partners Lee Dillon and Greg Schmitz, the concept grew out of the duo’s complementary talents and a desire to showcase the works of Dillon—a fine artist equally skilled at illustration, sculpture and jewelry design—and his parents, the renowned illustrators, Leo and Diane Dillon. The gallery offers a selection of the company’s art cards which are sold individually ($3.25) and in boxed sets of ten ($16). The stunning assortment ranges from painterly, hand-drawn work to more abstract computer-generated images based on seasonal themes. There’s also a delightful selection of fantasy animals geared toward little ones. “A customer came in the other day and purchased a box of our animal cards and she was going to frame them for her child’s room,” says Schmitz. The stationery line has been sold internationally since 2001. Now the gallery, with a roster of shows curated by Schmitz, offers the perfect blend of commerce and culture while introducing collectors, aficionados, and the greater public to the inimitable creative talents of the Dillons.

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Boerum Hill

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