Everyone knows that those "I Heart NY" T-shirts are made overseas. Why waste your money on kitschy souvenirs from jam-packed Midtown tourist traps when you can lavish your friends and family with some locally crafted New York goodness? From classic NYC brands to indie labels, there's a local, sustainable gift for everybody on your list.

Widow Jane Bourbon Whiskey

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That whisky-slugging uncle or hipstery cousin who loves to lecture you about the best whiskey being made in Kentucky? Knock his socks off with some Widow Jane bourbon, lovingly distilled in Red Hook, Brooklyn. For all the bourbon purists out there, the water from the Rosendale limestone caves upstate is even more conducive for whiskey distilling than the heralded waters of Kentucky. The result is a golden hue and a smoky kick. (Other made-in-NYC bar necessities to get the family party turnt up: Greenhook Ginsmiths gin and Bloody Mary mix from Hella Cocktail Co., both handcrafted in Brooklyn.)

Where: 214 Conover St., Brooklyn

When: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
More info: 
347-225-0130; widowjane.com

 

Sidewalk Trinkets

Photo by Yonghyun Lee


Tacky T-shirts aside, there’s a lot of great handmade stuff you can buy on the side of a New York street and gift to a family member from out of town. Let’s face it — people outside New York, though they may not admit it, have a fascination with the city that never sleeps. NYC paraphernalia makes a great gift for the suburban urbanophile. Walk around Chinatown and Soho to find full move scripts, classic films, artwork made from maps of the city and photographs of NYC's architecture and inhabitants. In fact, wander almost anywhere in Manhattan and the gifts will find you.

 

Overlook Woods

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There’s not a single person in this world who wouldn’t enjoy the expertly crafted, down-to-earth products from Overlook Woods. Well, maybe the kiddie-table set would be an exception. For everyone else, pick up some rustic tree-branch boxes, hand-carved cutting boards and wooden spoons for the kitchen, or even organic jewelry for the special someone. Naomi Feuerstein has been designing since her days at Pratt in Brooklyn and comes from generations of New York craftspeople.

 

The Salty Paw

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When you’re out shopping for the kids, remember that they aren’t the only ones who flip for holiday gifts. Keep your pooch warm in this bitter winter with a coat from The Salty Paw at South Street Seaport. Peruse the latest canine fashion trends or just stock up on organic kibble and home-baked treats from a selection that highlights local brands. A stuffed MetroCard toy fits perfectly in the stocking you definitely should have for your dog.

Where: 38 Peck Slip, South Street Seaport
When: Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
More info: 212-732-2275; thesaltypaw.com

 

Da Rosario’s Truffle Oils

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According to Anthony Bourdain, truffle oil is an imposter of the real flavor of freshly shaved white truffles. Let the culinary snobs make their proclamations. In addition to being a pungently delicious replacement for olive oil in countless Italian delicacies, the truffle oils from Da Rosario are full of complex flavor and rich with history. Rosario Safina is the truffle king of the United States, as an original importer of the sought-after fungi and, allegedly, the true pioneer of truffle oil. Find endless luxury food products on Da Rosario’s website, from South African porcini mushrooms to Iranian caviar.

 

Momofuku Milk Bar or Bien Cuit Cookbook

Bien Cuit Cookbook via Website


You can’t just give someone an Overlook cutting board without a little culinary inspiration to go with it. Why not deliver the joy that only New York’s finest dessert shop can provide? Award-winning pastry chef Christina Tosi spells out her genius in the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook, with instructions on making her famous Compost Cookie, Cereal Milk and more. Plus, it’s a good excuse to head over to the store in Williamsburg to gorge yourself on cookies. For a more savory option, check out the Bien Cuit cookbook for advice on how to make crunchy artisan sourdough loaves. Treats from either of these bakeries make delicious, if extremely temporary, gifts as well.

Milk Bar Williamsburg
Where: 382 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn
When: Mon.-Weds., 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; Thurs.-Sun., 9 a.m.-midnight
More info: 347-577-9504, ext. 1
milkbarstore.com

Bien Cuit
Where: 120 Smith St., Brooklyn
When: Daily, 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
More info: 
718-852-0200; biencuit.com

 

Flo + Theo Artisanal Vegan Skin Care Products

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Nothing screams new-age New York like handcrafted, organic and vegan skin care products. The two sisters behind Flo + Theo thoughtfully choose ingredients for their products to cater to those with sensitive skin. The result is a bevy of soaps, lotions and elixirs made in Queens with organic components like kaolin clay, hibiscus powder and sunflower oil. They're gorgeous little gifts that embody local, natural, ethical and luxe.


By Alexander Brock

Alexander Brock is a freelance writer who writes sports, travel, food, politics, finance, fiction, poetry and whatever else is asked of him. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is the editor-in-chief at downandoutmag.com.