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Gesamtkunstwerk ("Werk")
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman Gesamtkunstwerk ("Werk")

Best gift shops: Lower East Side

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

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Critics' picks


Shopping Bags and luggage Nolita

A quality product at a plausible price point is the recipe for a satisfied shopper, and this accessory boutique has it in the bag. Recently relocated from Nolita, this new LES location is three times the size of its old digs, and offers a wider selection of goods in a spacious, gallery-esque setting. Prices range from $99 to $325 for bags, and $50 to $150 for wallets and clutches, including standout pieces like the Tano Boogie leather bucket tote ($215), Moving on Up cobalt blue bag ($265), and lightweight unisex messenger caryall ($198) from the in-house label Relysh. Also in-store is a small collection of footwear (for more options visit sister store Shoe at 247 Mulberry St). Treat your feet to a pair of Cydwoq shoes ($198 to $340), cleverly crafted to feel as though you’re walking barefoot on sand.


Shopping Lower East Side

Unmarked and hidden below street level, Gesamtkunstwerk—which translates to “complete artwork,” but most folks call it Werk—is like shopping in an artist’s studio, complete with a work space in back and crafts displayed up front. Fresh out of the Cooper Union School of Art, business partners and friends Allie Kuzyk and Lucia Vera opened the cozy gallery to showcase the creations of local artists and sell their own quirky jewelry designs, which they craft on premise. Pick up unique gifts like Trashmour crocheted necklaces made from recycled plastic bags ($60–$90), Der Bears stuffed creatures handmade from reworked cotton, linen and velour ($10–$65), Naughty & Nice animal paintings on vintage wallpaper ($50–$350), and Kuzyk’s sterling silver and pewter pendants ($20–$50) and earrings cast from found objects, including starfish from Jones Beach and acorns from Central Park ($30). Aspiring designers, take note: Werk will offer jewelry-making workshops ($125) in its studio on Sundays from noon to 3pm, where you can learn to make your own sterling silver rings.


PB & Caviar

Shopping Lower East Side

Co-owners Evin Cosby and Wai Chan have selected the Lower East Side to reopen their second location of PB & Caviar (the original was in Tribeca). The intimate space specializes in all-occasion women’s dresses and receives new shipments of garb every two weeks, so you can expect a constantly changing inventory. Step into the girly, purple-hued store to peruse frocks from labels such as Torn by Ronny Kobo, Sauce and Butter by Nadia. Discover dresses and separates hanging along the walls, including Hype feather-print frocks ($215) and Onion tribal halter dresses ($160). Then head to the back corner to try on Matt Bernson beaded wooden wedges ($231) and check out Barbara Wiggins artsy metallic-cover notebooks with bird designs ($28).


Shopping Design and interiors Lower East Side

This Oriental-decor dealer has been importing home furnishings from the Middle East and North Africa for more than eight years, which means it surpassed the original Scheherazade’s 1001 Arabian Nights about five years and several dozen divans ago. Rich walnut benches, tables and mirrors from Syria with mother-of-pearl inlays ($650–$1,600) are almost too pretty to use, despite their solid heft.


The Tenement Museum Shop

Shopping Lower East Side

This shop, which is adjacent but connected to the Tenement Museum, sells New York City books and souvenirs, with particular deference to items evocative of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The space also hosts a regular series of lectures and book signings that more often than not have a historical focus.


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