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The best NYC-themed gifts for the holidays

Is the New Yorker in your life tough to buy for? Here's some NYC gifts that will make even the most jaded New York City resident smile.

Company XIV’s Nutcracker Rouge cast creates a tree formation for our NYC gift guide
Photograph: Rebecca Handler for Time Out New York
Photograph: Rebecca Handler for Time Out New York
Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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New Yorkers are fiercely proud of their city, so if you’re shopping for a Gothamite this holiday season, a gift celebrating NYC is one way to guarantee a hit.

While we’d love to gift everyone an in-unit washing machine and dryer or heck, a penthouse for that matter, many of us are strapped for cash this year. Yes, a gift card they can use at either one of the best restaurants in town or on a pair of tickets to see one of the hottest shows on Broadway would slay this holiday, but our NYC-themed suggestions are a bit more creative than that—and affordable.

To that end, this is our official NYC shopping list including items that show off some of the best New York attractions, iconic foods and more. Best of all, we teamed up with some sexy cast members of Company XIV’s Nutcracker Rouge to show off our new picks this year!!

RECOMMENDED: The full holiday gift guide

NYC gifts for the holidays

1. An illustrated NYC storefronts book

New York City is comprised of so much, but especially its storefronts — the tiny locksmith shops, expansive markets and the greasy spoon diners. If they love New York as much as we do, consider NYC Storefronts: Illustrations of the Big Apple’s Best-Loved Spots by Joel Holland. This book contains 225 illustrations of some of the city’s most iconic storefronts, each with a mini description and tips on everything from where to find the best chicken schnitzel to where to buy a black cap fringed with red-and-yellow flames. It’s a gem to own.

$24.99 on penguinrandomhouse.com

2. One Love Little Caribbean Food Box

Give them a taste of Brooklyn’s Little Caribbean with this food box containing all sorts of local treats, including an Island Love Cake (Coconut Aged Rum); a “Bloom Where You Are Planted” tea towel; a Brooklyn luggage tag; Pisqueya seasoning and Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce. It all comes in a box that is shaped and made to look like the caribBEING House — a repurposed shipping container with bespoke wood interiors and custom finishes,

$64 at iamcaribbeing.com

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3. A NYC skyline mug

There’s no other skyline like the New York City skyline. A proud New Yorker would enjoy sipping their joe out of this oversized mug that celebrates the city’s artsy sky and landmarks.

$24.95 at Fishs Eddy

4. NYPL Lion Bookends

The resident lions of the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building can actually come home with you — sort of. If you’re looking for a useful but special gift for a bookworm in your life, the NYPL has bookends modeled after the icons, “Patience” and “Fortitude,” that were hand-cast in marble powder and museum-quality resin. At 7 pounds each, you can buy both or just one depending on the need and your price range.

$60 each at nypl.org or in-store

 

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5. A Teddy bear representing their train line

The New York Transit Museum has a lot to choose from these days, from model trains to subway line T-shirts, but for the young ones in your life, a little Teddy bear with their favorite subway line on its belly is a sweet gift to give any kid. 

$9.99 at nytransitmuseumstore.com or in-store at the Brooklyn museum or its Grand Central Terminal store

6. An artsy scarf from The Met

If your loved one has a favorite artist, especially one whose work can be found at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, there’s a big chance you can find a reproduction of their favorite piece at the Met’s museum shop in many forms—coasters, mugs, puzzles, you name it. But our favorite idea is a gorgeous silk scarf that they can wrap around their neck or use to put up their hair like this Van Gogh neckerchief. This way, they’re always surrounded by art that brings them joy. 

$28 at store.metmuseum.org or in the Met Museum’s shop

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7. Empire State Building martini glasses

Knock it out of the park with these sculpted glasses made to look just like the Empire State Building. These 8-ounce crystal glasses sit on detailed, etched historic nickel-plated stems. It gives Art Deco. Early 90s. Sophistication. Camp. And they’re usually available for dine-in guests only at the State Grill and Bar in the Empire State Building.

$50 for a set of two glasses on-site at State Grill and Bar (21 West 33rd Street)

8. A bagel with lox tree ornament

If they’ve made their tradition of bagel and lox their personality (who wouldn’t?) then this sweet glass ornament might be just the right thing to add to their holiday decor. The hand-painted bauble is delicate and a quirky gift for any New Yorker.

$15.95 at pearlriver.com or in-store at Pearl River Mart

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9. A candle that actually smells like an NYC slice

This candle isn’t basic. Literie’s “Pizza From A Guy Named Joe,” smells so much like a pizzeria that it is mouthwatering. Made with a vegan soy and coconut wax blend (it’s sulfate-, SLS-, and Phthalate-free, non-toxic and animal cruelty-free), it contains basil and tomato notes for a truly intoxicating scent. Simply lighting it would trick anyone into thinking you’re making your own pie at home.

$45 at literiecandle.com

 

10. An illustration of their favorite hangout by Bop Bop Illustrations

Commemorate your fellow New Yorker's favorite spot or an important local haunt where it all began with a print of it by an NYC artist—Annie Schonberger or Bop Bop Art. She has so many city favorites to choose from, including Dante, the Little Owl, Books Are Magic, Katz's and Russ & Daughters. Schonberger also donates 15% of her profits at the end of each year to an organization called Protect Our Winterswhich is a group of winter sports enthusiasts fighting for climate change impact!

bopbopart.com, starting at around $65.

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11. NYC Subway Cognac Token & Revenue Bag Watch

For a classy gift for the New Yorker who appreciates vintage NYC items and memorabilia, get the NYC Subway Cognac Token & Revenue Bag Watch. It’s a practical gift with a nod to the past made with an authentic 1970s-era 7/8-inch Y-cut New York Transit Token. The dial is made from a “revenue bag” that was used to transfer tokens throughout the system.

nytransitmuseumstore.com, $265.

If you want to commemorate the MetroCard before it’s fully gone (thanks to the new OMNY system), you can grab some ephemera here.

12. NYC Coffee Cups

Only design nerds know what the New York City flag looks like. For the rest of us, our collective symbol would probably be the "We are happy to serve you" coffee cup. Now, with this ceramic homage to the Grecian icon, you can re-create that sweet street-java feel at home.

nycoffeecup.com, two for $36

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13. Katz's Delicatessen Carving Board

When you’ve been hacking through 23,000 pounds of corned beef and pastrami every week—for decades—you enlist the best surfaces for the job. Katz’s is selling limited runs of carving boards made from the deli’s old counters, oodles of knife marks and all.

katzsdelicatessen.com, $125

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15. NYC MetroCard Charm

“Can I get a swipe?” sounded less thirsty before dating apps.The person on your list can rep the city hard with this charm in sterling silver ($68), with a Simone de Beauvoir quote (“There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless”) on the back.

jetsetcandy.com, $68

16. Brooklyn Eagles 1935 Baseball Cap

JAY Z already made the Yankees hat famous, but here’s your chance to champion another New York baseball team. This cap was sported by the Brooklyn Eagles, a Negro National League club that played ball for one season at Ebbets Field.

ebbets.com, $54

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17. "One-Track Mind: Drawing the New York City Subway"

Architecture and underground art intersect, well, underground—beneath Gotham’s streets. Collected here for your perusal, Philip Ashforth Coppola’s intricate drawings celebrate our subway’s decorative elements, from overlooked mosaics and terra-cotta plaques to faience medallions and cornices.

wherever good books are sold, $24.95

18. Bodega Cat Pillow

If a wisp of cat hair is in your bacon, egg and cheese, that’s just part of the experience of getting a sammie at the corner store. And we’re fine with that: Some of our favorite New Yorkers are bodega cats.

peraltaproject.com, $40

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19. A Gilder Center Sweatshirt

If they’re a big fan of the American Museum of Natural History, get them something to celebrate their love and the opening of the impressive, new Gilder Center!

AMNH has a great, heavy-duty sweatshirt made exclusively for the opening on sale for $78, here.

20. Sunday Afternoon in Central Park Puzzle

Give the gift of the sweet scapes of Central Park. This sunny New Yorker Cover by Artist Bob Knox, originally published on July 15th, 1991 has 1000 pieces, to keep you busy on cozy winter evenings.

mcny.org$18.95

Want to get 'em a unique NYC experience?

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