Holiday Shopping in NYC

by Staff

Holiday shopping in New York City isn't just an exercise in purchasing power—it's an opportunity to wander an urban wonderland of stores with magical window displays and one-of-a-kind goods. Bustling buyers make their way to iconic department stores on Fifth Avenue and beyond, and the flagship outposts of designers like Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen promise a luxurious experience to all who enter. Another benefit of holiday shopping in Manhattan is the chance to pick up stylish and exclusive presents in distinctly New York environments. Kiosk, for example, offers quirky, internationally curated home items in a hidden SoHo space. Check out our slideshow to learn more about this and eight other NYC shops where you'll find exceptional gifts that will make lucky recipients swoon.

Courtesy, Kiosk

95 Spring St., 212-226-8601, SoHo, Manhattan
Tucked up on the second floor, beyond a graffiti-covered stairwell, is Kiosk, a store that's like the demented love child of Moss (a sophisticated home goods store) and an Archie McPhee novelty toy catalog. Everything is displayed as if in a museum, with little curator's notes that tend toward the kooky—but, amazingly, stuff is affordable. Kiosk's owners, Alisa Grifo and her husband, Marco ter Haar Romeny, travel the world to find cool items to import, devoting the store to the goods of a different country every few months. As a result, the shop feels like a roadside market—if that road were to run through the middle of SoHo and appeal to the sort of consumer who loves a German bottle opener as much as an aluminum trivet from Portugal. Objects from the United States, specifically Vermont, take center stage this holiday season.

Photo: Malcolm Brown

Opening Ceremony
33-35 Howard St., 212-219-2688, SoHo, Manhattan
Chloë Sevigny, the epitome of downtown fashion, has designed tops, bottoms, eyewear and more. And Pendleton's historic and fabulous woolen mills created a series of cardigans, shirts, dresses and pants with Native American motifs that manage to be totally classic and yet completely new. These are just two of the exclusive lines carried at Opening Ceremony, where hipster cool merges with venerable brands and shopping is a course in style. The 35 Howard Street shop (which consists of a basement, a main floor and a loft) expanded to 33 Howard St., which made room for two more floors of clothes for men and women. Like Kiosk, Opening Ceremony has international cachet; it features designers from one particular country every year. In addition to its standard repertoire of impressive inventory, the store highlights fashion from Argentina this season—including designs from AY Not Dead, El Camarin and Jungle Vi.Ai.Pi. Pieces run on the expensive side, so if you like the styles but don't have enough cash on hand, look for sales on the Opening Ceremony website. While you're at the brick-and-mortar, though, don't forget to check out the mezzanine's shelf of hard-to-find fashion mags.

Photo: Ben Ferrarl

Billy Reid
54 Bond St., 212-598-9355, NoHo, Manhattan
It may be in New York, but Billy Reid's NoHo store has a distinctly Southern feel: the downstairs ceiling is made of schoolhouse doors salvaged from the Mississippi Delta area, antiques decorate the whole space and there's even a deer's head on the wall. Reid, a lover of fine bourbons, throws the occasional whiskey party during which guests can chat with a local bourbon expert and sip spirits while they shop. While the decor may make you feel like you've stumbled upon Alabama directly from Bond Street, the high-end fashion will quickly remind you that this is Southern living done the New York City way. Women might covet the babydoll dresses, suede trousers and boyfriend shirts, while men will long for Reid's sleek suiting, Levi's jeans and jacketsand hats from the Billy Reid for Stetson line.

Photo: Will Steacy

Lomography Gallery Store
41 W. 8th St., 212-529-4353, Greenwich Village, Manhattan
"Digital" is a dirty word among Lomographers, so you probably won't hear it at this haven for fans of the creative and experimental analog photography embraced by Lomographic Society International. Located near Washington Square Park, the Lomography Gallery Store—which lives up to its name by showing the occasional exhibition—is a 900-square-foot emporium of cameras, film, bags and other accessories. Most of the stock sports the society's own brand names, although the store also carries Fuji instant cameras and vintage Russian range finders and SLRs. Some of the cameras offered produce only one effect, like a fish-eye view, and the Fisheye One Redis perfect for the zany artist who loves wide-angle shots of landscapes or, say, the New York skyline. Other cameras, like the Diana F+, can utilize various attachments and produce many effects. From month to month, the store may feature up to six events, in which instructors lecture about a certain technique or lead budding artists in workshops. The Greenwich Village shop, as well as the other Manhattan location at 106 E. 23rd St., also lends out cameras to students, who may know nothing of analog shooting.

Photo: Willie Davis

Barneys New York
660 Madison Ave., 212-826-8900, Upper East Side, Manhattan
The seasonal window displays at the Barneys flagship are one of New York City's greatest holiday joys. Last year's invited passersby to "Have a Foodie Holiday" by paying homage to bigwigs of the food world, like Mario Batali, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Ina Garten. This year's windows—and the entire fifth-floor Men's Store, in fact—will be decked out as "Gaga's Workshop," Lady Gaga's spin on Santa's Workshop. The holiday campaign is a collaboration of many talented artists, including Lady Gaga fashion director Nicola Formichetti and Barneys' new creative director, Dennis Freedman. Elsewhere throughout the store, the shoppers' paradise continues—each area feels like its own boutique, and hard-to-find pieces from in-vogue designers and design teams (Alexander Wang, Jil Sander, Rag & Bone) are plentiful.

Photo: Jen Davis

Printed Matter, Inc.
195 Tenth Ave., 212-925-0325, Chelsea, Manhattan
Creativity in Chelsea isn't limited to the galleries. Printed Matter, a nonprofit that specializes in "publications made by artists," welcomes visual imagination in book form rather than on canvas. In its current space since 2005, Printed Matter has thrived as a bookstore-gallery hybrid, where a public reading room houses more than 15,000 works available for viewing and purchasing. Instead of stacking all of the books with spines exposed, Printed Matter dedicates ample wall space to displaying covers, in the spirit of a vintage vinyl record store. You're not likely to find a book by Dan Brown, but you will find Featured" target="_blank">Typewriter Poems, a 1972 collection of concrete poems (words are arranged to create meaningful shapes on the paper) composed on typewriters. And thanks to Printed Matter's quest to deliver to the masses, the goods are utterly affordable—you shouldn't have any trouble finding a thought-provoking art periodical for as little as $7.

Photo: Alexander Thompson

MoMA Design Store
81 Spring St., 646-613-1367, SoHo, Manhattan
If wandering around the world-renowned Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) /venues/the-museum-of-modern-art-moma sounds like a nice way to spend a weekend afternoon, you might consider making a visit to the MoMA Design Store across the street on West 53rd Street. If you're not in Midtown, however, be sure to swing by the SoHo location of the shop. Stop in for breakfast at the perpetually hip French bistro Balthazar /venues/balthazar-restaurant, then hop over to the warehouse-like space to explore home goods, jewelry and more that rival the museum itself in terms of artistry. Top sellers include hugging salt and pepper shakers and a loop-design candelabra. Desk chairs, stools and coffee tables are among the pricier items. The emporium also offers posters and prints, available both matted and framed, that replicate the works of MoMA-featured artists like Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso and many more.

Photo: Andrew Lovley

Fishs Eddy
889 Broadway, 212-420-9020, Union Square, Manhattan
A Union Square mainstay for 25 years, Fishs Eddy is actually named for a tiny town in upstate New York—which is fitting for a kitchen-goods shop whose style is borrowed from the small-town, "aw, shucks" mentality a world away from the City. The cozy store is full of vintage surprises like salvaged surplus plates and glassware made for airlines and now-defunct restaurants—perfect for mixing and matching. The shop's various styles of plates, glasses and flatware look as appropriate in urban kitchens as they do in country homes. And Fishs Eddy also creates its own motifs—from Brooklyn and Manhattan skylines to vintage Americana patterns. If you've ever wanted to make your own blue plate special, this is where you'll find your dish. Better still, there are bargains here for every price point, such as 99-cent by-the-piece flatware, striking barware, beautiful cake stands and eclectic gifts.

Photo: Alexander Thompson

Academy Records
12 W. 18th St., 212-242-3000, Flatiron District, Manhattan
Now that audiophiles have resurrected vinyl from the dustbin of history—turntables aren't quite the new iPods, but they're not exactly 8-tracks, either—Academy Records' offerings are even more impressive. The store features an endless variety of used CDs, DVDs and vinyl, some of them so lightly used that they're like new. One essential rule of thumb for visits here: allow yourself ample time to rummage, so that you can find the gems among the extensive collections of recordings and films, including some on VHS (if you can't find what you're looking for, ask the staff in the back to check the stockroom). Academy deals are unlike any other—boxed sets, for instance, are available at an attractively discounted price. Academy's jazz, classical and opera selections are some of the most comprehensive in the City, and the shop specializes in obscure recordings that you may not be able to find elsewhere. If you're looking for a particular release, call the shop once a week to find out if it has come in—the store's buyers are well versed in new arrivals.