Best new gift stores

By Brooklyn

Critics' pick

When owner Gaia DiLoreto left the corporate world in October 2009, she fell headfirst into Brooklyn’s red-hot restaurant scene, enrolling in a restaurant management course at the Institute of Culinary Education and refining her palate on local specialties. Soon after, she focused on opening a single destination that provides an array of New York–made culinary and shopping picks. The modern-day general store has a hodgepodge of offerings, including pickles, soaps, honey, T-shirts, jewelry, paper goods and books by Brooklyn authors. Stock your cabinets with Take Me Homeware embossed ceramic plates ($22–$50), fill your jewelry box with linguaNigra hammered-gold-coin earrings ($50–$115) and necklaces ($70–$150), and load your closet with KimmChi cotton graphic T-shirts ($28). DiLoreto says the only things she’s not featuring are high fashion and prepared foods—yet.

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Carroll Gardens

C. Wonder

Critics' pick

Having successfully helped ex-wife Tory Burch introduce preppy-boho caftans to the masses, Chris Burch is ready for round two—this time he's launched his own colorful collection of women’s apparel, accessories and home decor. And with all items ranging from $10 to $200, Burch’s goods are perfect for any budget. The cheerful lifestyle brand debuts along with this Soho flagship, which features themed rooms inspired by aspirational destinations like Palm Springs and Vail. Creative gift ideas abound, such as monogrammed cheese boards with matching spreaders ($18), ceramic printed ginger jars ($38–$58 each) and coral beaded necklaces with gold-leaf detailing ($148). Shoppers can also personalize items ($10–$15) with C. Wonder’s on-site monogramming machine.

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Soho

Condor

Critics' pick

Shop owner Loriann Smoak has racked up a lot of stamps on her passport (she traveled to 19 countries last year alone!), and now she’s bringing her worldly finds to this Nolita boutique. The bright, white, marble-detailed space is decorated with plants and greenery, and it’s loaded with garb from local and international designers. Eco-friendly silk tanks by Amour Vert come from France ($72), Ghost Dancer beaded bib necklaces are inspired by Native American culture ($178), Juma bird-printed scarves are made in India ($175) and cult photographer Neil Krug’s Pulp Art Book of grainy Polaroid-film photos can decorate coffee tables ($50).

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Nolita

Considerosity

Critics' pick

Gift-giving is a whole lot easier with this cozy West Village boutique, whose selection of pretty, tasteful items—ranging from handmade jewelry ($30–$150) to artisanal home goods ($15–$50)—offers something for every hostess, birthday girl and bride-to-be in your life. Reclaimed-wood shelving showcases Julie Nolan’s brass-disc pendants featuring astrological constellations ($45) and Coatt’s Morse-code necklaces that spell out love, peace and friend in gold-filled dots and dashes ($36). Considerosity also specializes in items that are practical (S’well colorful stainless-steel water bottles, $35), thoughtful (West Third Brand daily affirmation wish candles, $16) and just plain delicious (Macaron Café macaron gift boxes, $14–$49).

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West Village

Hickoree’s Hard Goods

Critics' pick

Brothers Emil and Sandy Corsillo launched their e-commerce site, Hickoree’s Hard Goods, in June 2009, featuring a small selection of ties and scarves. One of the best-selling brands on the site was Emil’s own tie line, the Hill-Side, which became so popular (it was even picked up by J.Crew) that the brothers decided they should open a brick-and-mortar store. After a well-received Williamsburg pop-up during the 2009 Christmas season, Sandy quit his job in finance, and the duo channeled all of their energy into opening a Brooklyn storefront. With products ranging from seed packets ($2–$2.25) and Slinkies ($6–$9) to Levi’s vintage jeans ($260–$295), Sandy says he wants customers to feel as if they’re “going into a supermarket and grabbing watermelon seeds while their mom shops.” To create that general-store effect, products hang on a giant pegboard to replicate the front page of the website, while knickknacks such as slingshots ($21), Silly Putty ($2) and toy airplanes ($2–$4) are displayed by the register. Along with the Hill-Side printed skinny ties ($76–$90), Hickoree’s offers Heritage Leather Company top-handle bags ($37–$170), store-brand baseball caps ($48) and Sierra Designs short parkas ($350).

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Williamsburg

Maxiga

Critics' pick

Husband and wife Mark and Agnes Szlendak maintain that every item carried in their three Manhattan locations “must make customers smile.” In the year they’ve been in business, the couple (hailing from Poland) has curated a collection of local and international products with a focus on home decor—but you won’t find these kitschy housewares in your typical Bed Bath & Beyond. The latest digs on the Upper West Side (the other two shops are located on the Upper East Side) is Maxiga’s largest yet at 1,000 square feet, and features cheerful, orange-accented displays of colorful tchotchkes. Novelty items up for sale include David Weeks’s animal head–shaped chip clips (set of three $13), Diva rubber duckies that are dressed to the nines ($16) and Karlsson colorful acrylic pinwheel clocks ($125).

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Upper West Side

Owl and Thistle General Store 

Critics' pick

The old-timey feel of this gift shop—tin ceiling, coffee-colored damask-print wallpaper and shelves made from wood and black plumbing pipes—adheres to its general-store theme. Owner Keri Cavanaugh handpicks the products, which are all locally made, sustainable or Fair Trade, including stationery ($3–$16), clothing ($35–$90), housewares ($8–$50) and bath products ($4–$6). Send your dear grandmother a note using Pepper Press letterpress postcards featuring Brooklyn neighborhoods ($3) or Night Owl Paper Goods cards made from sustainably harvested wood ($5). Outfit yourself in Brooklyn label Cora dresses with subtle animal prints ($60–$80) and carry Dirty Kren handmade yoga-mat bags ($15–$20). You’ll also find Sea Grape shampoo bars ($7), Bird Craft colorful beeswax candles ($8–$11), and McClure tasty pickles ($10) and potato chips ($1).

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Crown Heights

Still House

After graduating from the Pratt Institute with a degree in fine art, Urte Tylaite wanted to shift toward retail. She developed the necessary skills by working as a graphic designer and sales rep for Brooklyn boutique Swallow, and used what she learned to open her own design store in the East Village. With products ranging from jewelry ($22–$1,100) and dishware ($5–$800) to art books ($30–$75) and artisan postcards ($5–$7), Tylaite has curated a diverse collection of gifts, home goods and personal accessories that encourage visitors to peruse. “I wanted customers to feel welcomed to wander in and simply enjoy browsing,” she says. To create an inviting environment, vintage industrial lamps light the shop, and succulents and air plants garnish the store. Selections such as GDG Studios faceted bowls ($35–$56), Jené DeSpain brass-and-leather necklaces ($165) and Soft Glass pitcher-and-cup sets ($250) sit upon simple wooden shelves lining the walls or in handmade felt-lined shadow boxes for easy viewing.

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East Village

Top Hat

Critics' pick

New York native Nina Allen opened this home-decor and gift boutique to showcase international finds from Sweet Bella, a wholesale company she started seven years ago that sells a mix of goods like stationery, birdcalls and bags. The minimalist shop specializes in oddities from small companies and family businesses, whose craftsmanship techniques, such as ceramics and leather working, have been passed down for generations. Allen travels the globe, handpicking eclectic items such as Atelier NL by Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum clay dishes from Holland ($30–$130), Valenki wool boots from Russia ($130), Kyouei Design balloon lamps from Japan ($35), gorgeous Sweet Bella signature hand-painted Venetian leather pouches ($56–$90) and Patrick Fray Industrial Design cloth unraveling calendars ($90), which have strings you can pull away until you reach the end of the year. Bonus: During the winter months, patrons can rent handmade wooden toboggans and sleds ($15–$20 per hour) or purchase them ($140–$350) and get them custom engraved for $18. Allen plans to expand Top Hat’s home-goods collection when the back room of the shop opens in February.

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Soho

Treasure and Bond

Critics' pick

Nordstrom’s high-end philanthropic boutique donates 100 percent of its profits to select charities that benefit the youth of New York City. The sleek shop, which incorporates reclaimed and repurposed materials, stocks more than 150 local, national and international fashion, accessories and home-decor luxury brands. Discover glamorous Satya Twena handmade hats ($250–$575); Akong London vibrant, chunky wool South American–inspired necklaces ($175–$1,100); and the Vintage Frames Company authentic retro glasses ($235–$470), which are a favorite among celebs like Lady Gaga and ?uestlove.

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Soho

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