Gifts Galore in the West Village
As befits its arty, idiosyncratic nature, the West Village is chock-full of shops offering an eclectic array of gifts. Healing crystals and crystal glassware, knitted rattles for trendsetting tots and luxurious salves for their stressed-out parents, coloring books and colorful vases: The boutiques below offer all that and more.
349 West 12th Street (between Greenwich and Washington Streets)
When you walk into Calliope, the challenge is not to find the perfect present but rather to avoid walking out with an apartment’s worth of items for yourself as well. This furniture, decor, and gifts shop is the brainchild of Caroline Ventura, designer of the BRVTVS collection of clean-lined jewelry, and her husband Michael, founder/CEO of strategy and design firm Sub Rosa, and it reflects their simple, fresh, global-influenced aesthetic. Items range from handcrafted footed bowls adorned with variegated stripes to hand-painted silk pillows, quartz geodes to live-edge tables. In addition to an ever-changing assortment of new pieces from artisans around the world, the store sells vintage midcentury furnishings, such as Danish modern ottomans and richly hued glass accents shaped like fruits and vegetables.
396 Bleecker Street (between Perry and West 11th Streets)
Though it began as a jeweler and still designs and sells jewelry today, Paris-based Christofle is best known for its silverware, glassware, and ceramic tableware. Its Bleecker Street outpost, housed in the first floor of a picturesque brownstone, offers all of the above and more. Its Haute Orfèvrerie collection consists of sterling-silver and silver-plated works of art: an 18-inch-high figurine of a horse playfully rearing up on its hind legs, a trinket box topped with Borghini marble, an Empire-style champagne bucket. Less extravagant but no less lovely potential gifts include gleaming picture frames, a hive-shape music box topped with a silver-plated bee that makes an adorable baby-shower present, scented candles in elegant etched glasses, and key rings that can be engraved for a personal touch.
377 Bleecker Street (between Charles and Perry Streets)
Just a block south of Christofle is another Paris-based luxury purveyor, Diptyque. Its scented candles in glass vessels with the distinctive labels can be found in the homes of just about every tastemaker. In addition to its trademark candles, Diptyque offers candles in colored-glass and artisanal porcelain pots, room diffusers and sprays, toiletries, and other fragrant delights. Complementing the lushness of its fragrances is the glamour of its petite West Village shop, with an extravagant chandelier made from frosted candle glasses and mirror panels that resemble mercury glass.
17 Eighth Avenue (between West 12th and Jane Streets)
You may be tempted to throw yourself a housewarming party, no matter how belated, simply in hopes of receiving gifts from this furnishings emporium. Items such as hand-turned oak bowls, enameled copper trays, and hand-poured bone-china vases are simple but, thanks to the richness of the materials, never stark. The curated selection of handcrafted jewelry hews to the same understated aesthetic. If these pieces could talk, it would be in a whisper—and everyone knows how seductive a whisper can be.
117 Perry Street (between Hudson and Greenwich Streets)
This jewel box of a shop is devoted to the art of decoupage. Reprints of images gleaned from estate sales and flea markets embellish glass coasters, trays, and paperweights. Botanical drawings, animal illustrations, old-time signs, and vintage maps are among the images featured. If you do not see anything that suits, the Kaas artisans will craft a custom piece for you using anything from family photos to wedding invitations.
370 Bleecker (between Charles and Perry Streets)
As its name indicates, L’Objet sells objects. Not just any objects, however. Each artisanal item exudes luxury. Letter openers are plated in 24-karat gold and speckled with Swarovski crystals; gold-rimmed Limoges porcelain dessert plates are decorated to resemble malachite; vases are gilded in platinum or adorned to resemble classic Fortuny prints; jacquard throws are woven of baby alpaca wool. Even the bar soaps, scented with the likes of cypress and jasmine, pimento berries and moss, are made with pampering walnut and argan oils.
30 Charles Street (between Seventh Avenue South and Waverly Place)
Simply walking into Pink Olive is likely to lift your spirits, so you can imagine how happy someone will be to receive a gift from here. Even the functional items display wit or whimsy: porcelain mugs with winsome illustrations of penguins and fawns, baby blankets with a corner featuring a soft pig or pup for little ones to clutch onto, money clips that declare “Life Savings” or “Beer Money.” The shop’s sizable assortment of cards and stationery makes it a one-stop gifting shop, and many of cards are lovely enough to frame, making them a gift in and of themselves.
113 Christopher Street (between Bleecker and Hudson Streets)
Your New Age friends and relatives are not the only ones who will appreciate a present from Stick Stone & Bone. Yes, the shop specializes in crystals, incense, dream catchers, and the like, but many of its offerings are beautiful enough to appeal to those who don’t know a chakra from a mantra. A few clusters of sparkling raw amethyst or a bowl filled with tumbled agate, jade, or obsidian will dress up any tabletop or shelf; Ethiopian or Native American incense in a holder made from seashells or soapstone pleases both the eye and the nose. And of course, beaded bracelets and crystal-pendant necklaces never go out of style.
573 Hudson Street (between West 11th and Bank Streets)
The store is ostensibly for kids, but we can know many an adult who would love the machine-washable zippered lunch bags featuring a not-very-menacing shark on the front or a new copy of “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” Rattles resembling MetroCards and yellow cabs will help prepare babies for the joys of New York living, and parents are as apt as their youngsters to enjoy a bubble-gum making kit or a classic Spirograph. What you will not find here are video or computer games; the Loog Mini Guitar and the beginner’s telescope are about as high-tech as Teich’s toys and books get.