Best gift shops: Gramercy

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

Photograph: Krista Schlueter
Opening Ceremony at ACE Hotel

Critics' picks

ABC Carpet & Home

Critics' pick

While it may seem like nothing in this inspiring home behemoth falls into the “budget” designation, the basement of the rug depot (west side of the street) offers a trove of carpet remnants, like a beautiful purple-inflected beige number (12'x14') for about $300, which can be cut to any size and bound—a customer recently had them re-create the shape of a bear. You can get natural fibers (jute, sisal) and broadlooms along with rug samples and overstock (most of which are reduced by 50% to 75%). Upstairs, you'll find insanely gorgeous wares at equally insane prices: Madeline Weinrib Atelier graphic centerpieces, huge flokatis and a slew of hand-tied rugs from far-flung corners of the world.

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Gramercy & Flatiron

Fishs Eddy

Critics' pick

Walking into this Flatiron spot feels as if you’ve just stumbled upon the best stall at the flea market. Worn-wood shelves support stack upon stack of assorted rainbow-colored dishes ($1–$17), mismatched vintage china ($5–$23), toile teapots ($15–$39) and other kitschy kitchenwares. The amazingly cheap price tags make it worth battling the often-pressing crowds to stock up on assorted flatware ($1–$6 each) and glassware, including oversize stemless martini glasses ($6), elegant champagne flutes ($8) and Italian-style painted wineglasses ($5). If you’re in need of a serious discount, plunder the sale section in the back for never-before-used castoffs from restaurant and hotel suppliers. But there are plenty of affordable, freshly minted kitchen goods too. Local-specific buys include platters printed with the Brooklyn skyline ($17–$25) and Floor Plan dinnerware (from $8 for a five-square-inch “studio” to $33 for a 12-by-16-inch “penthouse”).

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Opening Ceremony at the Ace Hotel

Critics' pick

This sister boutique to the Soho location is outfitting, accessorizing and entertaining the hippest of hip travelers. High ceilings, glass displays, and the cream-and-tan color scheme give the store an airy, elegant hotel feel, while the semi-circular marble cashier’s desk (originally from the New York Public Library) adds a piece of Manhattan’s roots. Though OC is based around the principle of bringing international brands to NYC (the store’s name was even inspired by the Olympics), this concept shop offers NYC chicness to vacationers. Trendy toiletries are in abundance, from neon OC toothbrushes ($4 each) and Japanese toothpastes ($6) to Proper Attire condom cases designed by Alexander Wang and Jeremy Scott ($6, includes three condoms). Part of the shop’s allure are the exclusive collaborations, such as 3.1 Phillip Lim cashmere blanket shawls with matching eye masks ($200 for the set), jewel-tone Tumi luggage and travel goods (like canvas-wrapped adapters for $55), a Maison Martin Margiela feather pen circa Cher Horowitz in Clueless ($50) and Silver Lining Opticians aviator sunglasses with colored lenses ($295).

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More shops for gifts

Union Square

Critics' pick

RECOMMENDED: 50 best New York attractions This park is named after neither the Union of the Civil War nor the labor rallies that once took place here, but simply for the union of Broadway and Bowery Lane (now Fourth Avenue). Even so, it does have its radical roots: From the 1920s until the early ’60s, it was a favorite spot for tub-thumping political oratory. Following 9/11, the park became a focal point for the city’s outpouring of grief. These days you'll find the lively Greenmarket in warmer months, holiday shops in the winter and a summer concert series for kids.

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Gramercy & Flatiron Free

Fishs Eddy

Critics' pick

Walking into this Flatiron spot feels as if you’ve just stumbled upon the best stall at the flea market. Worn-wood shelves support stack upon stack of assorted rainbow-colored dishes ($1–$17), mismatched vintage china ($5–$23), toile teapots ($15–$39) and other kitschy kitchenwares. The amazingly cheap price tags make it worth battling the often-pressing crowds to stock up on assorted flatware ($1–$6 each) and glassware, including oversize stemless martini glasses ($6), elegant champagne flutes ($8) and Italian-style painted wineglasses ($5). If you’re in need of a serious discount, plunder the sale section in the back for never-before-used castoffs from restaurant and hotel suppliers. But there are plenty of affordable, freshly minted kitchen goods too. Local-specific buys include platters printed with the Brooklyn skyline ($17–$25) and Floor Plan dinnerware (from $8 for a five-square-inch “studio” to $33 for a 12-by-16-inch “penthouse”).

Read more
Gramercy & Flatiron

Paper Presentation

Critics' pick

Stationers, brides and DIYers all flock to this warehouse-like standby for custom invites and supplies for creating their own. Grab boxed cards ($10–$40), individual sheets of paper in a rainbow of shades (from $1), glassine envelopes ($5–$16) and tags ($3 and up) from its well-rounded stock.

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Gramercy & Flatiron

Limelight Marketplace

Critics' pick

The Episcopal Church–turned-’90s-superclub is now a minimall. The three-story haven boasts more than 40 shops, including Old Hollywood, Brocade Home and the first-ever Hunter store. Refuel after shopping with thin-crust pies at an outpost of famous Brooklyn pizzeria, Grimaldi's.

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Cursive

Stop by this independently owned kiosk, located on the first floor of ABC Carpet & Home, for a well-honed lineup of fine stationery, jewelry and trinkets for the home.

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ABC Carpet & Home

Critics' pick

While it may seem like nothing in this inspiring home behemoth falls into the “budget” designation, the basement of the rug depot (west side of the street) offers a trove of carpet remnants, like a beautiful purple-inflected beige number (12x14 feet) for about $300, which can be cut to any size and bound—a customer recently had them re-create the shape of a bear. You can get natural fibers (jute, sisal) and broadlooms along with rug samples and overstock (most of which are reduced by 50 to 75 percent). Upstairs, you'll find insanely gorgeous wares at equally insane prices: Madeline Weinrib Atelier graphic centerpieces, huge flokatis and a slew of hand-tied rugs from far-flung corners of the world.

Read more
Gramercy & Flatiron

Opening Ceremony at the Ace Hotel

Critics' pick

This sister boutique to the Soho location is outfitting, accessorizing and entertaining the hippest of hip travelers. High ceilings, glass displays, and the cream-and-tan color scheme give the store an airy, elegant hotel feel, while the semi-circular marble cashier’s desk (originally from the New York Public Library) adds a piece of Manhattan’s roots. Though OC is based around the principle of bringing international brands to NYC (the store’s name was even inspired by the Olympics), this concept shop offers NYC chicness to vacationers. Trendy toiletries are in abundance, from neon OC toothbrushes ($4 each) and Japanese toothpastes ($6) to Proper Attire condom cases designed by Alexander Wang and Jeremy Scott ($6, includes three condoms). Part of the shop’s allure are the exclusive collaborations, such as 3.1 Phillip Lim cashmere blanket shawls with matching eye masks ($200 for the set), jewel-tone Tumi luggage and travel goods (like canvas-wrapped adapters for $55), a Maison Martin Margiela feather pen circa Cher Horowitz in Clueless ($50) and Silver Lining Opticians aviator sunglasses with colored lenses ($295).

Read more
Gramercy & Flatiron

Vintage Thrift Shop

There’s a rotating mix of astoundingly well-preserved designer and nonvintage clothing here, as well as one-of-a-kind housewares, shoes and accessories. We’ve found vintage Yves Saint Laurent blouses for $12, striped skinny ties for $6 and a pair of classic Salvatore Ferragamo pumps with bows on them for $10. Pretty much everything is a find, but you still get that thrill-of-the-hunt feeling.

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Barnes & Noble Union Square

Many an author touches down at Barnes & Noble's citywide branches, and the Union Square flagship offers an especially varied schedule. Keep an eye open for its "Upstairs at the Square" series, which pairs notable writers and musicians for a well-rounded cultural evening.

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Union Square Holiday Market

Now in its 20th season, this European-style winter market boasts more than 150 local and national vendors hawking an impressive selection of handcrafted gifts, ranging from jewelry and accessories to leather goods and artwork. Nestled beneath red-and-white-striped tented booths, the bustling downtown bazaar offers a unique holiday-shopping alternative to the overcrowded big-name retail stores. Scoop up Kristiana Parn stationery sets (six note cards for $18), Stories mounted art prints ($45 each), Organic Treatment facial serums ($38), and Pageant Print Shop antique Brooklyn and Manhattan maps ($200).

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Gramercy & Flatiron

ABC Carpet & Home: Carpet

While it may seem like nothing in this inspiring home behemoth falls into the “budget” designation, the basement of the rug depot (west side of the street) offers a trove of carpet remnants, like a beautiful purple-inflected beige number (12'x14') for about $300, which can be cut to any size and bound—a customer recently had them re-create the shape of a bear. You can get natural fibers (jute, sisal) and broadlooms along with rug samples and overstock (most of which are reduced by 50% to 75%). Upstairs, you'll find insanely gorgeous wares at equally insane prices: Madeline Weinrib Atelier graphic centerpieces, huge flokatis and a slew of hand-tied rugs from far-flung corners of the world.

Read more
Gramercy & Flatiron

Kate's Paperie

This haven for stationery lovers still carries one of the best, though pricey, collections of decorative paper, boxed cards and pens in the city. Scan the wall of specialty styles for squares of Japanese washi paper printed with kimono florals, handcrafted lace-like sheets and rectangles of Thai banana paper before winding your way through the 20 departments dedicated to envelopes, wax seal stamps and bone folders. If you’re planning a bridal or baby shower, don’t miss the custom printing section’s massive binders of designs, much more thrilling to receive than an Evite.

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Gramercy & Flatiron

La Perla

The queen of lingerie lines runs its New York boutiques in an equally high-end fashion. A trip to La Perla to pick out some gorgeous foundations is an experience like no other, and you know you'll leave with some of the most exquisite underthings your skin could want next to it.

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Gramercy & Flatiron

The Conran Shop (CLOSED)

Sir Terrence surprised New Yorkers when he vacated his 59th Street store in 2010 and shacked up with ABC Carpet & Home. For us, it's a boon: The new 8,500-square-foot store is easy to get to, and brimming with clean, green, mostly well-priced design objects that make moms and dads as happy as they do kids. A whimsical Bullseye Memo Board with colored magnets brings order to all of those nanny notes, and a Station Clock with kiwi-green digits and bold minute markers makes time-telling a snap.

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Gramercy & Flatiron

Forever 21

Even if you weren't in a mad rush, you probably wouldn't want to spend a whole lot of time in Forever 21. With loud pop music, a dressing-room line that's longer and slower moving than the security check at JFK, and racks of clothes that would make a teenage girl's closet appear to be the pinnacle of organization, this teenyboopper mecca is hardly a place you want to linger. But, they're practically giving it away for free at this haven for all-things-trendy: you can snag softer-than-cotton layering tees and sequin-bedecked party dresses for less than you'd spend on two vodka tonics.

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Gramercy & Flatiron

Stephan & Co.

Haute accessories, like those worn by The City’s Olivia Palermo, are a little more affordable at this hip jewelry boutique in the Flatiron District. After 40 years in wholesale, Stephan Rubin decided it was time to establish an exclusive outpost for his stylish brand, which boasts high-end looks at low-end prices. The ornate baubles shine like works of art amid this store’s clean white interior, which is lined with colorful illustrations by local artist Haixin Wang. We love the tribal beaded and jeweled bib necklaces ($26–$48), glammy gold and sleek silver metal cuffs ($14–$28) and layered chain necklaces ($20–$48).

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Gramercy & Flatiron

Compleat Strategist

This terrifically nerdy game store sells, well, here's a list of their recent Top Products: Rifts CCG Booster Packs, Pirates of Davy Jones' Curse Booster, Star Wars CMG: Starship Battles Booster Pack, Velour Dice Bag - Large....

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Gramercy & Flatiron

No. 8a

This hip shop, located inside the Ace Hotel and from the same owners as Projects No. 8 and No. 8b, carries NYC-themed travel goods and souvenirs—ones that real New Yorkers would actually buy. We’re digging the Mementos collection, which includes Pappabubbles’ pretzel-shaped candy ($20), peep-show coins ($5 each), and i heart ny snow globes complete with floating trash bags ($40). Local designer Jane D’Arensbourg’s jewelry line uses Pyrex glass (invented in the Big Apple!) to create necklaces ($20) and rings ($136). Also on tap: NYC-made or -themed books, skin-care products and more.

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Peoria Emporium

Upon entering this elaborately decorated shop and spotting the neon fluffy chairs and shocking-pink walls, you might be inclined to think that you’ve walked into a kids’ shop—or another planet entirely. Owners Patricia Stevens and Elena Agostinis have consciously curated their second store (the first is in Bronxville) to feel like a giant playhouse for adults. Agostinis trolls the world in search of unique offerings with which to fill the candy-colored space, such as necklaces made from loops of recycled rubber ($89) and patchwork jackets by New York designer An Ren ($375). Everything inside the store is for sale—and answers the burning question of what to buy that person who already has everything—including the quilts made from Indian saris in the upstairs loft space ($229) and the outsider art on the walls, like a series of paintings depicting enchiladas and sweet-and-sour pork ($65 each). Don’t miss the house line of accessories, such as a scarf made from Stevens’s husband’s shirts ($44) and handmade stuffed animals inspired by toys that Stevens’s grandma used to make ($24–$39).

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Trixie and Peanut Pet Emporium

Treat your furry friend to a new sweater, collar or toy at this trendy pet shop. Sporty cotton hooded sweatshirt with the word "Sniff" embroidered on the backs are $29, Tahoe toggle coats with faux fur collars are $39–$49, and Drooly & Bark plush embroidered toy purses run $15.

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Anthropologie

Decidedly more refined and upscale than its sibling shop, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie specializes in bohemian and vintage-inspired clothing and home decor, as indicated by their eternally-inspiring, always-changing store design schemes. While they offer a slew of in-house clothing lines, they've started turning out designer capsule collections with harder-to-find labels like Twinkle by Wenlan and Maria Bonita Extra, which means that there are a plethora of well-cut patterned dresses, oversize knit sweaters and adorable, wear-everywhere tops. The home goods are particularly strong and range from the big (huge armchairs recovered in Scandinavian textiles) to the eensy (door pulls fashioned out of chunks of graphite).

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Muji

This Tokyo-based line with a cult following (mujirushi ryohin means “no-brand quality goods” in Japanese) specializes in deliberately unflashy housewares that design purists adore for their simple aesthetics and smart, streamlined packaging. The shop will win over local conspicuous consumers with its utilitarian-looking shelves ($14), sofas ($265) and steel chairs ($112).

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Papyrus

Stationary. A lot of it. In the custom printing section, on-site graphic designers can honor your wishes for letterhead adorned with colored inks, pearlized paper and your fave images. There’s also a letterpress printing service offering exclusive designs for your change-of-address announcements. Of course, you can also pick up personalized basket-weave notebooks ($10–$13), frames ($5–$68) and paperweights ($32) to beautify your desk. Various other locations.

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