The men in my life can be hard to shop for; either they have everything or they must be led by the hand into new territory. Fortunately, I fancy myself the “gift whisperer,” and today I set out with the goal of securing some holiday surprises for my loved ones at the Winter Village.
The natural first stop was Urban Man Made—with “man” in the title, I couldn’t go wrong. My boyfriend Joe has a tacky faux-leather toiletry bag whose piping is peeling off at the corners. (It also faintly smells of spilled Irish Spring body wash.) I asked Todd and Tom, the store’s proprietors, their recommendations for a replacement. They suggested a dapper gray felt wash bag at $49.
With all the international travel Joe does for academic research, his apartment is often neglected. I prefer to take the route of positive reinforcement when attempting to induce changes, much like with my dog. (Sorry for the analogy, sweetie!) I swung by Intaglio Antique Prints and Maps, a shop dedicated to old prints and maps, to find something suitable for mounting above Joe’s couch. The shop’s resident antiquarian, Tunde Bodnar, directed me towards a stack of pre-matted prints of various maps. At the back of the stack, I found the perfect wall piece: “Johnson’s National Emblems” ($150), a print of international flags. The broad color palette will match any further embellishments my boyfriend adds to the apartment while the content celebrates his personal interests. (It would also be a mature and tasteful touch for a child’s bedroom.)
My father’s tastes can politely be described as eccentric on a good day. I immediately thought of his yard art when I saw the over-sized metallic figure in the window of Metal Park. I thought it was a mannequin wearing knight’s armor but as I got closer, I realized it was a Boba Fett sculpture (of Star Wars ignominy). At $12,000, the life-sized Boba was more of a showpiece than a stocking stuffer, but the designer and store-keeper Pairoght directed me to an 8” model that was within my budget at $55. Amazingly, each piece that Metal Park creates is individually arc-welded from scrap metal in a Queens workshop and lovingly coated with lacquer to forestall rust.
With the Star Wars figurine tucked under my arm, I meandered through the Village with the intent of finding a gift for my close friend Alex. Alex favors modest dress and impeccable grooming. With that in mind, I poked my head into Dr. Sofskin's Emporium. The employee on duty ingratiated himself by offering a warm wax hand massage from one of the shop’s signature body lotion candles. (To be honest, I was in such a blissful state that I didn’t catch much of his spiel about the earth-friendly practices of the company.) When he finally released me from his grasp, he directed me towards the men’s shaving gear—shaving brushes made of badger hairs ($35-80) and the matching shave soap ($8). Alex will love it!
Finally, I topped my shopping tote bag off with some stocking stuffers from Raaka Chocolate - a three-pack of premium chocolate bars for $21.95. I think my favorite men will appreciate the savory bourbon flavor with 82% cocoa.
Urban Man Made
Booth F07 in the 42nd Street Allée (map)
Intaglio Antique Prints and Maps
Intaglio Antique Prints and Maps
The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park
Monday - Friday: 11am - 8pm
Saturday: 10am - 9pm
Sunday: 10am - 6pm