For the first time in decades, my Christmas shopping is done, and despite my many shortfalls and aches and pains, I find myself with need for naught. The people around me and the direction I am taking has me in a joyous mood. With that statement, I reveal my ignorance as there are so many people out there hurting. Organizations like foodbanknyc.org need our support. It behooves us to help our neighbors who lack the basic necessities. With all the feasting and shopping frenzy, please take a moment to look around and lend some help.
Nightlifers are slammed servicing holiday parties and the hordes of revelers determined to send out the New Year with a bang and/or a record number of hangovers. One barkeep told me he hasn’t had a day off in 15 days. I told him I haven’t had a day off since 1991. While many amongst us have had rough years, others say that it has gotten a little better, or that they have gotten used to it. The creatures of the night keep strange hours, and it is not unusual for these night crawlers to crawl out of bed late in the afternoon. Holiday shopping becomes difficult as they need to nourish themselves find some clothes (that don’t smell too bad) and rush off to work again. Over the years, I have found a few New York stores where you can zip in and zip out with imaginative and fairly inexpensive gifts. These one stop shopping joints will check off all the names on your list, and if they don’t, then may I suggest a charitable donation in that persons name. It’s better than a bad sweater. So here are Uncle Steve’s Holiday gift sources for those without time to do it right. All of these places are an easy walk from each other.
1. A couple of weeks ago, I walked into Michelle Varian on Howard, at the dead end of Crosby, and the sales girl said "You’re here early this year." For many years, I have done virtually all my shopping on Christmas Eve at this wonderful shop. There are gifts that can’t be found anyplace else in all price ranges. This year, the store has been expanded and is packed with all sorts of wonderful.
2. Jon Derian on 2nd Street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery is the big secret of design professionals looking for impact. There are indeed big ticket items, but there are beautiful things for that impossible to buy for set. Paper, objects, knick-knacks and art are among the things I suggest you run over to consider.
3. The owner of Alphabets on Avenue A between St Marks and 7th Street greeted me like an old friend. There were a hundred things in there I wanted for myself. I bought my brother some amazing socks with Luchadores on them. It is a perfect place to find a hundred things that will make them go whoo! When the gift wrapping comes off. The price range fits those in a budget and that is just about everyone I know. If I had only 2 words to describe it (as most of you pray for), I would say "cool stuff."
4. Eastern Mountain Sports at 530 Broadway at Spring Street has hundreds of cool ideas to keep you warm, like super insulated gloves, underwear, hats, all mixed in with all the great gear. Flashlights, water bottles and even a huge box of hand and feet warmers for those who work outside are among the miles of shelving packed with good gift ideas.
5. Yes I designed the WeSC store on Lafayette just north of Prince, but it was a labor of love. I love this brand, which is a bit more stylish and maybe mature than the Supreme store a few inches South. For me, it’s for the dude or dudette who graduated from Supreme and looks at G-Star like it’s for road warriors or wanna-be bikers. Alongside the great clothes at reasonable prices are the coolest headphones in town. They look great and work great. I’m using them tonight when I DJ at Hotel Chantelle.
6. Evolution is that often disturbing place on Spring Street between Mercer and Greene. For that impossible-to-please person they’ll have an answer. If the embalmed animals and stuck insects don’t do it for you, look a little deeper. There are treasures in the myriad of trays and displays. I once gave someone a Venus Fly Trap from there and I enjoyed the love for months.
7. Jo Malone is located in Bloomingdales at 504 Broadway, between Spring and Broome. The hand creams are to die for. Give them a jar of this stuff and they’ll think of you every time they used it.
8. Ina on Prince between Mott and Elizabeth is heaven for the women in my life who find bags, shoes, accessories, and good advice from Ruby and Squirrely (her real name). Designer brands at real great prices. This is a not-so-secret spot for the beautiful people buying or selling new or rarely worn clothing that was used on a photo shoot or something like that. They have a men’s store a couple feet East.