Gifts and Collectibles
As with everything in New York City, gifts of all colors, types, and sizes can be found. Evolution Nature Store (120 Spring St., between Greene and Mercer Sts., 212/343-1114) is an odd natural history store where you can pick up a giraffe skull or wild boar tusk. Along similar lines, Maxilla & Mandible (451 Columbus Ave., near 81st St., 212/724-6173) offers a most unusual assortment of skulls, skeletons, bones, teeth, beetles, butterflies, seashells, and fossils.
A long-time East Village favorite is Surma (11 E. 7th St., between 2nd and 3rd Aves., 212/477-0729), a one-of-a-kind shop selling Ukrainian crafts, books, and records. And for offbeat souvenirs and postcards, step into Alphabets (115 Ave. A., between St. Mark’s Pl. and 7th St., 212/475-7250). Abracadabra (19 W. 21st St., near 5th Ave., 212/627-5194) features an enormous number of rubber Halloween masks and wacky gag gifts.
In the science and technology realm, Hammacher-Schlemmer (147 E. 57th St., near Lexington Ave., and at other Midtown locations, 212/421-9000) features the world’s most imaginative and expensive high-tech gadgets. Star Magic (1256 Lexington Ave., between 84th and 85th Sts., 212/988-0300) sells a fascinating selection of space-age gifts, including science kits, mobiles, prisms, kaleidoscopes, and books.
The museum stores are also particularly good for gifts. Try the MoMA Design Store (44 w. 53rd St., 212/708-3167) for interesting design driven pieces. The New York Historical Society (170 Central Park West at 77th St., 212/873-3400) has a particularly good selection of New York–themed items and the Shop @ Scandinavia House (58 Park Ave., at 38th St., 212/847-9737) offers all things Scandinavian.
In Grand Central Station, look for the New York Transit Museum Store (Shuttle Passage next to the Station Masters’ office, 212/878-0106), where you can find all sorts of subway-themed items and memorabilia. In Greenwich Village you’ll find a full range of NYPD- and NYFD-themed items at The Firestore (17 Greenwich Ave., off W. 10th St., 800/229-9258).
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition