Best books to give the New York real estate lover for the holidays

By Sharon Krum  | December 16, 2013 - 12:15PM

Groucho Marx once said that outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. (Then he added, "Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.") Books also make great holiday gifts, and for friends and family who love New York architecture, design and interiors, what could be better besides buying them an actual apartment?

Design Brooklyn by Anne Hellman ($25.30 hardcover, $16.99 kindle)

By now you’ve got the memo that Brooklyn has been crowned the capital of the “cool” universe, and Design Brooklyn  helps explain why.  Through 150 photographs,  Hellman explores how the borough has become a mecca for green architecture, renovation, historical restoration and avant garde design. You can make all the jokes you like about hipsters, but their sense of style is undeniable. Perfect for those interested in urban living with a twist. 

Small Apartment Hacks: 101 Ingenious DIY Solutions for Living, Organizing, and Entertaining  by Jenna Mahoney ($10.13 paperback)

Do you know someone who lives in a New York space they call an “apartment” but anyone from out of town  would call a closet?  Is their bath in the kitchen? Is their kitchen also their living room? If so they’d appreciate this guide  to maximizing limited square footage.

Mahoney’s book is filled with tips, including storing towels in an accordion wine rack, using mirrors to amplify a room, and cleaning “green” with baking soda and vinegar so you save space and money on chemical cleansers. Great for college kids or recent graduates. 

All The Buildings in New York: That I’ve Drawn So Far by James Gulliver Hancock ($13.49 hardcover)

Hancock is an Australian  illustrator who moved to New York and became obsessed with its buildings. His dream is to draw them all, and if you can’t dream big in this town, where can you? His whimsical illustrations make a wonderful snapshot of the city’s ever changing architectural styles.

While the famed Empire State and Flatiron are here, he’s also tackled the Brooklyn Bridge, iconic brownstones and the Lower East Side. This is one coffee table book guests will want to flip through.

Fifth Avenue Style by Howard Slatkin ($37.95 hardcover)

This book is sheer eye candy for interior lovers and anyone who has walked past a luxury Fifth Avenue building and wondered what life is like inside. If interior designer Howard Slatkin’s apartment is anything to go by, it’s pretty sumptuous.

Lusciously photographed, Slatkin takes you inside his apartment filled with Chinese porcelain, hand painted tiles, chandeliers,  a Russian Empire chair and Louis IV armoire,  and that’s just the beginning. He writes that living well is the best revenge, and his apartment proves it. 

The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman ($12.92 paperback)

Lipman is the author of ten novels, including The Inn at Lake Devine and Then She Found Me. The latest, The View from Penthouse B,  “sparkles with wit”,  said the New York Times.

Set in Greenwich Village, the plot revolves around two sisters, one widowed,  and one divorced after a scandal, who move in together. Great for anyone who has shared an apartment with a sibling in this crazy city.   

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