Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Shop the Season: Gifts for Men

Sara completes a thorough tour of the Holiday Shops at Bank of America Winter Village in search of great gifts for men - boyfriends, best friends and dads included. 

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
Booth C02 in the 42nd Street Allée (map)

Metal Park
Booth G01 in the 42nd Street Allée (map)

Dr. Sofskin's Emporium
Booth G08 in the 42nd Street Allée (map)

Raaka Chocolate
Booth C06 in the 42nd Street Allée (map)


The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park
Monday - Friday: 11am - 8pm
Saturday: 10am - 9pm
Sunday: 10am - 6pm


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