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Curbed Gift Guide: 15 Perfect New York City-Themed Presents

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'Tis the season for holiday shopping—and if you want to avoid the Black Friday crowds and find amazing gifts for the New York fanatics on your list, let this list be your guide. Curbed's staff has chosen some of the best New York City-themed presents around, whether you want something quirky for a design-obsessed pal, a book for that person who thinks they know everything about the city, or an unforgettable, Instagram-worthy experience.


Kentile Floors Sign Model Kit
by Boundless Brooklyn
$20 at Boundless Brooklyn
Bring back Brooklyn's beloved lost signage with this bookshelf-sized cardboard cutout.

Archi Desk Accessories
by Hsunli Huang
$25 for File Holder / $18 for Pen Cup at MoMA Store
Fans of Soho's historic cast iron buildings may love the repetition of their predictable patterns, and will find the same order with these desktop accessories.

Health Grade "A" Tray
by Fish's Eddy
$19.95 at Fish's Eddy
When it comes to New York City Health Department restaurant ratings, no one wants a "B"—or do they?

The New York City Subway: 468 stations. 1 poster.
by Alex Daly and Hamish Smyth
$35 through BackerKit
Although the creators of this poster, which features the Massimo Vignelli signage for every single subway stop in New York City, called it "nerdy," the 2,848 people who helped it get made by exceeding its Kickstarter goal by nearly six times, or $142,259, suggest it's the best kind of nerdy. Pre-orders are now available for all sized posters, framed or unframed. The standard 24-inch by 33.25-inch is asking $35.

Brooklyn Toile
by Mike Diamond &Vincent J. Ficarra/Adela Qersaqi of Revolver New York
$200 per roll at Flavor Paper
A wallpaper first commissioned by Mike D. of Beastie Boys fame, Flavor Paper's Brooklyn Toile pays homage to all things Kings County in the 20th and 21st centuries—Notorious B.I.G., B-Boys, stroller moms and more. Manhattanites, rejoice: there's also a Chinatown version.


Humans of New York: Stories
by Brandon Stanton
$17.64 (hardcover) at Amazon
A follow-up to his 2013 bestseller, here Stanton delves deeper into the stories behind the images he's captured on his wildly popular blog, Humans of New York. This new book also has never-seen photos and stories.

Store Front II: A History Preserved
by Karla L. Murray and James T. Murray
$49.65 (hardcover) on Amazon.
The husband-and-wife team first captured shuttering mom-and-pop shops in their first book of haunting photographs, Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York. Their new book continues those meticulous efforts, but also has a somewhat positive spin, showcasing the indepedent businesses that are surviving in the face of rampant development.

Subway Adventure Guide: New York City: To the End of the Line
by Kyle Knoke and Amy Plitt
$15.45 (paperback) on Amazon.
Co-written by Curbed NY's own editor, Amy Plitt, this book offers off-the-beaten-track adventures at the end of each of New York City's subway lines. Whether a tourist or long-time New Yorker looking for an alternative to the city's well-trafficked destinations, this guide offers up surprising alternatives for all like Tottenville, Staten Island's Conference House Park and Forest Hills, Queens's legendary Nick's Pizza.

Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York
by Judith Gura, Kate Wood, and Larry Lederman
$42.43 (hardcover) on Amazon.
Get a peek at New York's 47 landmarked interiors in the city, including highlights like the Tweed Courthouse, Grand Central Terminal, and Radio City Music Hall.

Every Person in New York
by Jason Polan
$16.98 (paperback) on Amazon.
As the title suggests, artist and illustrator Jason Polan is on a mission to capture the common New Yorker in his drawings, and in these pages you'll see everyone from a cab driver to a Wall Street banker brought vividly to life.

Seeking New York: The Stories Behind the Historic Architecture of Manhattan—One Building at a Time
by Tom Miller
$15.64 (paperback) on Amazon.
Miller takes a comprehensive look at the architecture and the social history of the city through line drawings and photographs. You can read about the family feud that led to the construction of the Waldorf Astoria, or learn about the histories of some of the city's unsung buildings.


New York Transit Museum membership
$35–$275; available via New York Transit Museum
The perfect gift for the subway nerd in your life, membership to this transpo-focused museum comes with reciprocal admission to other institutions (including the Intrepid and New York Hall of Science); discounts on special events; and, the best part, admission to NYTM's special tours, including the hidden old City Hall subway station, pictured above.

New York Adventure Club experiences
Prices vary; tickets available at New York Adventure Club
For the would-be urban explorer, snag tickets to private tours of NYC's quirky institutions—such as Reverend Jen's Troll Doll Museum, or the ornate United Palace Theater—through this group dedicated to civic discovery. The best part? Tickets are relatively inexpensive, and you'll meet plenty of like-minded explorers.

Edible History events
Prices vary; tickets available at Edible History
This club is devoted to the intersection of history and cooking, which they put on full display during dinners and other special events. Past dinners have included an exploration of the history of NYC restaurants, and a 15th-century Italian feast.

New York Botanical Garden membership
Prices vary; available via New York Botanical Garden
The city's first botanical garden has upped its game as of late, with blockbuster exhibits like its recent Frida Kahlo showcase joining tourist-filled staples like the Holiday Train Show. Beat the crowds by getting your beloved a membership, which offers access to special members-only tours and previews.