NYC Souvenir Guide: 15 Authentic New York City Products to Take Home
In keeping with the song, one might think that, if they can make it in New York City, they can make it anywhere. Well, not always... Some of the things made in New York City aren't made anywhere else, and you'll definitely want to try or keep at least some of them to prolong your NYC experience. Whether you're a no-nonsense sophisticated urban lady, a soft-touch metro-sexual, a hard-nosed "ball game" person, or just a kid in disguise, you'll find something up to your liking on this list!
1. Sabon Sea Salt Scrubs
Having tweaked an ancient Aboriginal soap recipe, the Sabon Fragrance Shop began in 1973 as a backyard soap-making boutique. Now 38 years later, Sabon boasts eight New York City storefronts, sprinkled through the island’s trendiest districts. Each shop is artfully decorated with chandeliers, brass fixtures, and a stone well. Newcomers are invited to wash their hands with their signature Sabon sea salts. Dark wood paneling and romantic candles make each visit to Sabon a journey into fragrant nirvana. In the heart of Greenwich Village, Sabon has one of its most popular shops, surrounded by the vibrancy and chic lifestyle of this iconic neighborhood. Cafes and boutiques line the streets. College students and musicians traverse the walkways. In the Village, life is hip. Stop by Sabon to purchase a jar of sea salts ($30) or body cream ($23). Or indulge in handmade soaps that line the walls like rainbow bricks, perfumed by fresh flowers. Visit the Greenwich Village location at 434 6th Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets. From January to April, their business hours are Monday to Saturday 10 am to 9 pm, Sunday 11 am to 8 pm. From May to December, they are open Monday to Saturday 10 am to 10 pm, Sunday 11 am to 8:30 pm. Other locations include 2052 Broadway at 71st Street by the Lincoln Center, 1371 6th Avenue by the Ritz Carlton, and 78 7th Avenue in Chelsea.
2. New York Yankees Pillow Pets
Draping a cute and cuddly teddy bear with the iconic pinstripes of the Yankees, Pillow Pets gives young New York fans a plush friend to nap with on the plane ride home. The Yankee Pillow Pet lays flat on any surface for a thin cushion. But line up the paws and you make a pinstripe baseball bear to cradle tired heads. Pricing for Yankee Pillow Pets begin at $29.99. Several locations sell these comfy pals, including the Yankees Clubhouse Shops. With three locations in Manhattan, this sport shop houses thousands of Yankees memorabilia, player jerseys, and unique collectibles. Bright and centrally located, the Yankees Clubhouse at 245 42nd Street in Times Square is a bustling hub for your Yankees needs. Store hours are 9 am to 11 pm Sunday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, they are open until midnight. While in the Times Square District, check out the technicolor billboards, street artisans, and endless shopping possibility. From here, walk to the shops at Columbus Circle to the north or meander through Broadway for a matinee show. Beyond the heart of midtown, try the other Yankee Clubhouse Shops, located at the Seaport Market Place, 393 5th Avenue, 110 E. 59th Street, and 745 7th Avenue.
3. Dean & Deluca Coffee
Coffee is the lifeline for many Manhattanites and at Dean & Deluca, business is booming. Owners Joel Dean and Giorgio DeLuca opened their first shop in 1977 on the streets of Soho. Their plan began with a passion to bring artisan foods into New York City. Three decades later, Dean & Deluca have 14 retail stores in the United States and maintain six in Manhattan alone. Daily specials of soup and sandwiches draw a regular crowd. But their coffee is the superstar on the menu. Both superior in quality and a fair trade product, Dean & Deluca coffee is sustainably grown and produced by Counter Culture. Three popular blends include the clean and mellow Americana Blend, the fruity Africana Blend, and the chocolaty, non-acidic Pacifica Blend. A Trio Sampler offers 3 ounces of each blend and costs $13.50. For a delightful trip to an artisan grocer, visit the original flagship shop at 121 Prince Street, located in the middle of Soho. Taste the breads and oils. Nibble on cheeses and chocolates. Then, walk around the narrow streets South of Houston. The Prince Street shop is open Monday to Friday 7:30 am to 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 8 pm. If you are farther uptown, scout one of their prime locations at the City Spire Café on West 56th Street, Rockefeller Center Café between 5th and 6th Avenue, 1150 Madison Avenue at 85th Street, New York Times Café on 8th Avenue, and Paramount Hotel Café on West 46th Street.
4. DKNY Be Delicious Perfume
Lauded as high fashion with urban sensibility, DKNY or Donna Karan New York began in 1989 as a young and youthful line that exploded in popularity and spun into DKNY Jeans, DKNY Kids, and DKNY Active. As a wink and a nod to New York City and it’s Big Apple image, DKNY introduced its Be Delicious line of perfumes in 2010. Cast in shiny metal and clear glass, the apple-shaped bottle encases a sumptuous scent that brims with wildflowers and fruit. As an encore to the success of Be Delicious, DKNY then released a second scent, called Golden Delicious. Replacing the silvery steel, Golden Delicious flaunts a gilded hue atop clear glass. The perfume is a touch more sophisticated with feathering notes of orange blossom and rose petal. Each 3.4 ounce bottle costs $75 at DKNY. Limited editions of Be Delicious perfumes are also available in Candy Apple and Red Delicious. Located at 420 W Broadway, DKNY is open 11 am to 8 pm Monday to Saturday, and Sunday 12 pm to 7pm. Keeping with great shopping company, DKNY is neighbored by Calvin Klein, Cole Haan, BCBG, and Coach, to name a few. If Madison Avenue isn’t on your itinerary, try Sephora Times Square at 1500 Broadway or Macy’s at Herald Square.
5. New York City Token Money Clip
A classic gift for men, the New York City Token Money Clip is made of sterling silver inlaid with a vintage 1953 coin from the transit system. The Y-shaped punch-in “NYC” is a unique design specifically made for this token. The embossed “New York City Transit Authority” is raised on top of a mesh design background that helps it stand out. The money clip is available at several locations throughout the city. For a special shopping treat, head to 20 Peacocks. Here, on the Lower East Side, you will shop in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in New York City. Small boutiques sidle close to chic cocktail lounges and young professionals weave up and down the streets on the wave to social engagements. On Manhattan’s Lower East Side, you can shop for vintage Japanese track bikes, leather goods, and Indie designers. The money clip was designed by Tokens & Icons Inc. and sells for $112. 20 Peacocks is located at 20 Clinton Street. Their hours are Tuesday to Friday 1 pm to 8pm. Saturday 12 pm to 8 pm. Sunday 12 pm to 6pm. If the Lower East Side doesn’t work with your itinerary, head to the New York City Public Library Shop at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street or the MTA Transit Museum in Grand Central Station.
6. New York City Snow Globe
With a twist of your wrist, you can watch white snow dapple the New York City skyline. One of the most recognizable city facades in the world, Manhattan has been the subject of countless artists and souvenirs. But inside a snow globe, the city comes to life and winter is year round. On the lower level of Macy’s in Herald Square, cheerful green boxes encase the iconic New York City in slow drifting snow. Underneath the platform, a small key can be wound to power the music box inside. Priced at $39.99, the snow globe makes a great gift that can be easily stowed in your carry-on. The area around Herald Square is an action-packed arena of shopping. Small, boutique shops sidle up against name brand behemoths, including Sephora, Victoria’s Secret, and Zara. Located by Pennsylvania or Penn Station, Herald Square can be reached by over a dozen subway lines, including the red, yellow, orange, and blue lines. Macy’s at Herald Square is located at 151 West 34th Street. They are open daily from 10 am to 9:30 pm. Unique New York snow globes are also sold at Saks Fifth Avenue at 611 5th Avenue and the Disney Store at 1540 Broadway.
7. New York Mets Autographed Major League Baseballs
Baseball is America’s pastime and in 1962, the New York Mets officially joined Major League Baseball, making Shea Stadium their home in Queens. Now playing at Citi Field since 2009, the Mets continue to proudly wear their blue and orange colors, welcoming fans from all over the world. The franchise has seen some of baseballs best players pass through their corridors, including Hall of Famers Gary Carter, Willie Mays, Yogi Berra, and Rickey Henderson. While visiting New York City, make sure to attend a game, if possible. Keep a look out for subway series games when the Mets battle against their cross-town rivals, the Yankees. Shop at an official Mets Shop for authentic New York Mets memorabilia. Hats, bats, and jerseys make great souvenirs. But for a special item, choose an official baseball autographed by legendary Mets players in history, as well as the entire team. When browsing, look for baseballs accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. This insures the value and provenance of your purchase. In Citi Field, several clubhouse shops offer great retail options for signed baseballs. The main team store is located next to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. On non-game days, they are open Monday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm and weekends 11 am to 5 pm. Throughout the city, several other shops offer fantastic selections of authentic Mets memorabilia, including autographed baseballs. In Midtown Manhattan, stop by the Mets Clubhouse at 11 West 42nd Street and Grandstand Sports & Memorabilia’s showroom at 148 Madison Avenue, fourteenth floor.
8. New York City Train Set
A classic toy, the New York City Subway Train set continues to capture the imagination of children, young and old. At the Metropolitan Transit Museum, these die-cast trains are the hottest item of all time. The small cabooses are priced starting at $15 and are compatible with Thomas the Steam Engine sets. Children can choose from the iconic blue, orange, green, and red subway lines; silver façade MTA-licensed cars; and intricate Lionel Train sets as well. New York City Train sets are also available in wood and hard plastic to suit your needs and price range. If visiting the Metropolitan Transit Museum in Grand Central, stroll through the Great Hall. Take pictures of the constellations on the ceiling. And spot the colored-subway signs for the 4, 5, 6 on the green line or the gray S for the Times Square Shuttle. The museum and shopping around the concourse is pleasant and cool on hot summer days. The Transit Museum in Grand Central Station is open Monday to Friday 8 am to 8 pm. Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 6pm. New York City Train Sets are also available at the New York Transit Museum at the corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn Heights, as well as Train World at 751 McDonald Avenue, Brooklyn.
9. Unique Versions of Lady Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is the most visited sight in New York City. As one of the most important symbols in New York City, this historic statue is often depicted in paintings and cast in metal for classic souvenirs. She stands tall and firm against the skyline, a familiar silhouette. But two playful and unique versions of Lady Liberty have found their way onto Manhattan. In Midtown’s M&M World, the Green M&M portrays a whimsical and rotund statue filled with chocolate candies. In the world of sweet treats, this statue tops the list for fun and iconic gifts. If you are just roaming the city scene or passively people watching, stop into the shop. Taste some chocolate and take home the Green M&M Statue of Liberty for $21.75. On Ellis Island, another figurine has donned the green robes of the Statue of Liberty. To commemorate their anniversary, Mattel has released the Dolls of the World Statue of Liberty Barbie. Standing at 11.5 inches, Barbie is introducing Manhattan’s landmark to a whole new generation. The familiar pointy crown sits atop her head, and in her hand she holds a clutch purse. She costs $39.99. For the delectable Green M&M Statue of Liberty, head to Times Square at 1600 Broadway. M&M World is open daily from 9 am to midnight. To Visit Ellis Island and purchase a World Statue of Liberty Barbie, depart from Battery Park. If boats and midtown traffic deter your visit, consider visiting FAO Schwarz on Fifth Avenue for their Barbie Section.
10. New York Giants Draft Day Hat
A top ranking team in the National Football League, the New York Giants entered the association in 1925 and is the only remaining franchise that entered from that class. Though their home stadium is located in New Jersey’s Meadowlands, visitors need not brave the New Jersey Turnpike for their football apparel. Instead, hundreds of shops in Manhattan offer a wide selection of one of the state’s most popular teams. Bright red and bold, this New York Giants hat is the official cap for 2011 draft. Made by Reebok, the hat features the embroidered team logo, raised lettering, and fine blue & white striping along the sides. Prices begin at $24.95 and sizes run from 6-3/4 to 7-5/8. The hat is officially licensed by the National Football League and available at several sporting goods stores. On game day, the biggest variety of Giants hats and gear will be at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey, while in midtown Manhattan, two great options are also available. At 6 East 57th Street, Nike Town is a mega-store brimming with New York sports equipment. If you are in Times Square, head over to Champs Sport, a massive store with the New York Giants apparel.
11. Long Island Wine
Image Courtesy of: Pamela V White
If Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc make your taste buds stand up at attention, New York is the place for you. Located 75 miles east of Manhattan, America’s third largest grape growing region enjoys the coastal breeze and fertile soils of eastern Long Island. Growing seasons are long. Bottles are shipped worldwide. And over a million wine lovers flock to the Hamptons and North Fork annually. For a great day trip, visit one of several wineries and spend the day snacking and sampling the local wares. Crowned the “Best Winery in Long Island” by the Long Island Press, Castello di Borghese Vineyard offers tours and tastes of their signature Meritage and Chardonnay. Designed personally by owners Marco and Ann Marie Borghese, the grounds encompass verdant knolls, café dining, and open-air patios. Their wines have clinched awards from Denver, Wine and Food Class, and Finger Lakes International Wine Competitions. The summer hours are Monday to Friday 11am to 5:30pm. Saturday 11 am to 6pm, Sunday 11:30 am to 6 pm. From January to April, they are open Thursday to Monday 11 am to 5 pm. But if time is tight, stay in New York City and order a local bottle to enjoy or take a few home. On the Upper West Side, Bin 81 is a great wine bar on West 81st Street with high top marble tables and an expansive wine list. Or visit Astor Wine & Spirits at 399 Lafayette Street, a 60 year-old Greenwich Village icon with over 4000 bottles to browse.
12. American Girl New York Clothing
Personalized, one-of-a-kind dolls are extremely popular. In the heart of Manhattan, the American Girl Doll Company sits on one full New York City block and fills its 3 floors with dolls, doll apparel, and children’s clothing. It is a wonderland of imagination, accented in pastel pink. Among their best line is the New York clothing, a great souvenir for young children. Shirts are embossed with “New York” and sparkling stars. They are available in doll sizes and matching children’s sizes as well. After your doll excursion, explore the surrounding area, one of Manhattan’s liveliest neighborhoods in midtown. During winter, visit the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. Snap a picture in front of Radio City Music Hall. Or head south toward Times Square and Broadway. If your feeling peckish, stay for lunch with your little lady and her new doll at the American Girl Company. The restaurant offers booster seats for dolls and a great menu. American Girl Doll Company is located at 609 Fifth Avenue at 49th Street. Their hours are 10 am to 7 pm every day.
13. Knicks Jersey
Robed in iconic blue and orange team colors, the New York Knicks is one of two NBA franchises still located in its original city. Short for knickerbocker pants, “knicks” was a moniker applied to Dutch settlers who first founded Manhattan in the 17th century. The New York Knicks boast some of the biggest names in National Basketball Association history, including Patrick Ewing, Dave DeBusschere, and Walt (Clyde) Frazier. While touring through the grid-patterned streets of midtown Manhattan, consider taking home a New York Knicks jersey. A recent addition to the team, Carmelo Anthony played as a Syracuse Orangeman in college and garnered the circuit buzz while playing in Denver. Knick fans swooned at the possibility of acquiring this new star to boost the franchise and fill stadium seats. After choosing #7 for his jersey, fans mobbed stores to purchase their own Melo No. 7. For a unique purchase, find his team jersey named the Swing Man, replicated with Melo’s exact measurements. Pricing begins at $185. Modell’s Sporting Goods offers the widest selection of jerseys and Knicks-related pieces. Half a dozen stores dot Manhattan. Other storefronts include Broadway in Midtown and Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side. With completed renovations, you can also purchase the jersey at gift shop in Madison Square Garden, the Knicks’ home arena.
14. Official MTA Rain Boots
An exclusive set of footwear unique to New York City, the Official MTA Rain Boots are a pair of high boots, patterned with the multi-colored route indicators for all Manhattan’s subway lines. Women sizes are available for 6 to 9 and run a little large. The sporty boots reach to mid-calf, high enough to prevent water from splashing into the wells. Each pair costs $38 or $34.20 for members of the MTA Transit Museum. Designed in a brightly colored polka dot pattern, the boots have the iconic blue, red, orange, and green circular subway indicators as displayed in the train system. A great gift, the boots are also functional during metropolitan downpours. The ridged heel has deep tread. The excellent no-slip traction is perfect on long, rainy walks from Grand Central Station to Broadway. To match your route indicator rain boots, check out the matching mouse pad and round, storage boxes. Only two locations carry the Official MTA Rain boots with route indicators. In the heart of Manhattan, just off the Grand Central’s Great Hall, the MTA Transit Museum offers a great exhibit and gift shop. Posters and displays proudly map the history and growth of New York’s transportation system. Black and white pictures, as well as vintage signs, tell Manhattan’s story from the perspective of its underground and elevated train systems. Their hours are Monday to Friday 8 am to 8 pm. On Saturday and Sunday, they are open from 10 am to 6 pm. At the corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn, you can visit the New York Transit Museum and purchase the rain boots as well. Their hours are Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 4 pm, and Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 5 pm. They are closed on Monday.
15. New York Rangers Jersey
A member of the National Hockey League since 1926, the New York Rangers is one of the oldest teams in American ice hockey history. Skating into the limelight as one of New York City’s premiere sports teams, the Rangers secured their claim to fame by wining the Stanley Cup in the franchise’s sophomore year. While vacationing in New York, browse through the Rangers gear and consider taking home a classic Dubinsky jersey. In 2007, Brandon Dubinsky first cut across the ice as a New York Ranger and began a stellar career. A fan favorite, Dubinsky recently signed a four-year contract with the Rangers for over $16 million. In 2011, the franchise authorized the production of their 85th anniversary jerseys. On the hemline, the jersey displays every number retired by the New York Rangers. Also, the upper sleeve carries a bold commemorative NHL patch. Anniversary jerseys start at $220. Check out Cosby’s Sporting Goods for a wide selection of Ranger’s gear. Formerly located in Madison Square Garden, the store has been relocated one block away while construction on the arena nears completion. Visit the shop at 11 Pennsylvania Plaza on 31st Street just east of 7th Avenue. Their hours run Monday to Saturday 9:30 am to 6 pm. They are closed Sundays. For other stores that sell Dubinsky jerseys and other Ranger gear, visit Nike 21 at 21 Mercer Street that features NikeID Studio for customizable footwear.