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"Scoop up gifts in gorgeous floral patterns or prints from the New York Botanical Garden."
"Whether you are looking for bestsellers or less-mainstream reads, you'll find them here."
"A rare place where you can buy any particular pencil your heart desires."
"The MoMA Design store is just as fun to browse online as it is in person."
"There is, quite literally, a card for everyone in this Greenwich Village shop."
"Get a taste of New York, even while working from home, with this shop's desk accessories."
"Located in the Gowanus neighborhood, this business is loved for carrying gadgets for kids."
"Experience the magic of discovering a new favorite designer or wardrobe staple online."
"If you’re looking to refine your palate or try something new, consider Tipsy's wine club."
"Each decor item is handwoven in Ethiopia and designed in New York City."
Anyone who has become well-acquainted with a specific neighborhood in New York City can attest that the small businesses add an absolutely necessary layer of personality. It may be a particularly random and enriching conversation you had with a staffer or an especially adorable shop pet, there’s something special about these creative retail spaces and the people who built them.
Unfortunately, the past year has been an absolute struggle for so many small businesses around the world. Combine that with a lack of financial support from the government and small business owners have been forced to get a bit creative. For many, that meant focusing more on their online retail game. While it won’t be the same as walking into a shop to the tune of a door chime or getting an IRL greeting, this kind of support can make all the difference and help ensure that the future holds a space for all of our favorite businesses.
Don’t know where to start? Ahead, we gathered a jumping-off list of businesses offering beautiful designs, new hobbies, covetable restaurant merch, and more.
Read on for our picks of the best NYC-based businesses.
Our Top Picks
New York Botanical Garden
Museum gift shops are arguably one of the best places to shop, and the New York Botanical Garden gets a spot on that list for the same reasons: you never know what you’re going to find, but you’d better believe it’ll have some sort of gorgeous floral pattern or print. It offers gardening tools, seeds, vases, and posters to stay within its theme. But there are cute gift options, too, including puzzles, candles, and serving dishes.
Books Are Magic
This Cobble Hill bookshop is owned by best-selling author Emma Straub and her husband Michael Fusco-Straub and is a well-known spot for stocking bestsellers and less-mainstream reads alike. They even run a subscription program where they send you one hardcover book a month for three, six, or twelve months. Choose between different categories to get the best fit for you or your loved ones. Books Are Magic also has some pretty fun merch, if you’re into that kind of thing.
CW Pencil Enterprise
The CW Pencil Enterprise is exactly what it sounds like: a place where you can buy any particular pencil or writing accessory (think grips, caps, cases, and notebooks) your heart desires. It’s a shop with the exact kind of New York City charm people go searching for on their visits.
MoMA Design Store
There is, quite literally, a card for everyone in this Greenwich Village shop. Don’t sleep on the quirkier stationery Greenwich Letterpress sells. One of our personal favorites is a card that reads “Thought of you while I was shopping in this cute store for things I don’t need.” Stock up on their offerings since there’s nothing like a surprise greeting on a random weekday.
Goods for the Study
Much like CW Pencil Enterprise, Goods for the Study focuses on all things writing. Additionally, this shop offers pens, notebooks, desk accessories, and more. If you live locally, you also have the option of placing your order online and picking it up at their West Village location. And don’t forget to check out its sister shop, McNally Jackson Books for some reading material.
Norman & Jules
Norman & Jules is one of those baby shops that makes you wish everything came in adult sizes. Located in the Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn, this business is loved for carrying cute indie designers, a great furniture selection, and science-focused toys and gadgets for children.
In person Sincerely, Tommy is the ultimate flaneur experience: grab a coffee, peruse racks of clothing from emerging designers, and fall in love with the various plants, ceramics, and books. Luckily, the magic of discovering a new favorite designer or wardrobe staple can still be had via its website.
Tipsy Wine Shop
A fun wine shop located in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, Tipsy has a huge array of wines with details on each producer. They also offer wine club subscriptions, if you’re looking to refine your palate or try something new.
Bolé Road Textiles
Pillows, rugs, linens, throw blankets, towels—it doesn’t matter what you’re looking for, each design you’ll find on the Bolé Road Textiles webshop looks like it came straight from a photoshoot. Each item is handwoven in Ethiopia (shop owner Hana Getachew’s home) and designed in New York City, marrying ancient weaving techniques with modern design.
Brooklyn Craft Company
Not only does Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Craft Company stock an extensive array of crafting supplies such as yarns, sewing machines, and knitting tools, but they also offer virtual workshops so you can pick up a new hobby (or six). Get all the necessary supplies at a discount when you sign up for a virtual class.
Serving New York
Less a physical space and more a community project, “Serving New York” is a cookbook celebrating the many iconic restaurants of the city—think Momofuku, Olmsted, the NoMad, and more. All proceeds from the hard copy and digital cookbooks go to ROAR (Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants) and Robin Hood’s restaurant relief fund, both of which provide direct financial assistance to restaurant workers.
Shaquanda's Hot Pepper Sauce
Inspired by his drag alter ego, Shaquanda Coco Mulatta, Brooklyn native Andre Springer creates delicious Caribbean-style hot sauces that go well on anything. (We're currently on a personal journey to prove that point). Each sauce is made with high-quality peppers and has its own unique flavor profile. They also use less sugar and salt than other name brand varieties.
Nom Wah Tea Parlor
A New York City staple, Nom Wah Tea Parlor has been serving up dumplings since 1920. While their dumplings may be hard to get if you live outside of NYC, you will be the coolest person in the room no matter where you are when you’ve got their Milton Glaser-designed t-shirt on.
Dimes NYC became an instant favorite for the hip crowds of the Lower East Side when it opened in 2013. Since then, they’ve opened a webshop that has a few (but mighty!) options. For example, the Dimes Peppermill—designed by restaurant co-founder Sabrina de Sousa—is the perfect gift for that friend who visited NYC and wants to own a little piece of the restaurant’s history.
Why Trust TripSavvy?
Erika Owen is a Brooklyn resident who finds a lot of joy in forming friendships with and learning from the small business owners in her neighborhood. She has visited each of the places called out in this article—or purchased from their webshops if the brand doesn’t have a physical space—and loves them all for their atmosphere, thoughtful curation, and the dedicated people behind the brands or projects.