The holiday season is upon us, and with that comes the pressure to find the perfect present for everyone on your list.
If that list includes New York City lovers, then let Curbed be your guide: We’ve 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.
Do Good mug
$48 | HELEN LEVI
Ceramicist Helen Levi crafts her cheerful handmade home goods—vases, dog bowls, plates, and the like—in a studio in Red Hook, focusing her designs on themes (like “beach,” glazed in shades that evoke surf and sand) rather than colors.
Our favorite: the “Do Good” mug, which comes in a rich, soothing color-blocked violet and peach. Levi donates 50 percent of the proceeds to a rotating selection of local charities, such as the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund.
Art Deco New York map
$10.50 | BLUE CROW MEDIA
From the folks who brought us last year’s Concrete New York map comes another compact building guide celebrating a completely different architectural style: Art Deco. The map features more than 65 of the city’s best Art Deco buildings, ranging from the incredibly famous (hello, Empire State Building) to the unheralded (the Park Plaza apartments in the Bronx). Get it for your friend who attends the Jazz Age Lawn Party every summer.
$5.25 | LUCYMAIL
It’s always nicer to receive a piece of snail mail than an email—especially when the note is written on this adorable stationery by Brooklyn designer Lucy Halcomb. The envelope is covered in charming illustrations of NYC icons—a bagel with lox, a pigeon, a yellow taxi, and the iconic Anthora coffee cup—while the card itself is adorned with a slice of pepperoni pizza. It doesn’t get more New York-y than that.
Milton Glaser: Posters
$29.99 | COOPER HEWITT
Throughout his decades-long career, legendary graphic designer Milton Glaser has created covers for New York magazine (of which he was also a co-founder), posters for Juilliard and the School of Visual Arts, and what has arguably become the most iconic tourism campaign ever. Now, more than 400 of his posters—some iconic, and some under the radar—are collected in a new coffee table book, the perfect gift for someone who ❤️ both design and New York.
AIA New York architecture boat tours
$48–$78 | AIA NY
The next time your aunt or that friend who only visits New York twice a year says they want to take a boat tour of the city, present them with tickets to one of AIA New York’s jaunts around the island of Manhattan. The organization partnered with Classic Harbor Line for five different tours that provide entertaining, in-depth looks at New York’s distinctive buildings. Go with Historic Architecture ($78) for a comprehensive tour of NYC landmarks, or Bridges, Infrastructure, and the Evolving City ($78) for a deeper understanding of what makes the city tick.
House of Books tote
$19.95 | THE STRAND
While there are now dozens of Strand tote bags to choose from, the “House of Books” design—featuring an illustration of its building at the corner of 12th Street and Broadway, complete with familiar red awning—might just be our favorite.
New York quilt
$219–$450 | HAPTIC LABS
Manhattan’s grid has never looked so good as when it’s rendered in quilt form by Haptic Labs, the brainchild of Brooklynite Emily Fischer. Made from 100 percent cotton, the blanket depicts a wide swatch of the island—from Central Park down to the Battery—with careful hand stitching that shows major roadways, bridges, and city landmarks. Use it to teach your little one about the geography of the city.
Artifact Bottle Opener
$120 | MALKA DINA
This sleek brass bottle opener by Bronx-born designer Elana Joy is less a utilitarian kitchen item and more a beautiful objet d’art. It’ll make opening a bottle of Brooklyn Lager feel like a totally indulgent experience—and who doesn’t need that every once in a while?
$15–$200 | BOWNE & CO. STATIONERS
Bowne & Co.’s current storefront opened at the South Street Seaport in the 1970s, but the printmaking company has been around for much longer—in fact, its first outpost opened in lower Manhattan in 1775. It made its name by selling hand-printed cards, and those curious about the art of letterpress can learn how it’s done at one of Bowne’s regular workshops. To get a true design immersion, sign up for a custom stationery course ($200), where you’ll learn how to run a printing press and create your own personalized notecards and more.
New York City/Brooklyn tray
$12 | MAPTOTE
You’ve likely seen Maptote’s cute New York-themed totes on plenty of arms around the city; now, its nifty designs now come on small fiberglass trays, which work just as well as cool display piece as they do as a place to throw your keys at the end of the day. They come in both NYC and Brooklyn options, each of which is emblazoned with city- or borough-specific iconography—the Unisphere, the Wonder Wheel, a pigeon, a black-and-white cookie, you get the idea.