What to get the New York families you love

By Lucy Cohen Blatter | November 30, 2015 - 9:59AM

While space is an issue for almost all New Yorkers, it's a whole other ballgame when you're attempting to fit several humans into one city-sized apartment. That's why, if you're buying for a friend or family member with kids, you need to make sure your gifts don't take up a lot of space or add to the never-ending mess they're probably dealing with on a daily basis.

While most New Yorkers with young kids would probably appreciate the ingenious new Lego slippers that protect their feet (the struggle is real when it comes to Legos in the living room), unfortunately there are only about 150 being given away through a sweepstakes based in France.

But don't panic, we've put together 12 other family and apartment friendly gifts for everyone from the parents of newborns to toddlers to tweens.

Piccolini is a downtown children's boutique for cool kids with all sorts of gifts that pay homage to the city, like ballerina dolls wearing "I Love New York" tees and onesies that say "Brooklynite." But we're partial to these adorable baseball tees ($35) that give a culinary spin to the classic "I Heart New York" shirt.

Looking for an under-$10 stocking stuffer that celebrates the city? Good Night New York City ($8.45) is the perfect choice. Kids and their parents will be reminded of all the reasons we pay so much to live here, from ice skaters at Rockefeller Center to the flags waving at the United Nations.

The Plaza may now be a condo building for the one percent (with a $50 million penthouse now on the market), but it was once home to the fictional Eloise, a six-year-old with a love for adventure. The original hardcover book ($18.99) is  a perennial classic for kids ages four to eight.

Kids are likely going to spend the next couple of months largely indoors, so why not have them work on a major project that will entertain for hours? The Kano kit ($149.99) is designed for kids ages 6 and up and shows them how to build a computer. Bonus: No mess.

If you happen to know a child going through a Little Mermaid phase and living in a classic NYC apartment where heat regulation is tricky, these mermaid tail blankets ($63) are a great gift idea. If you'd prefer something similar made of yarn, there are lots of other options on Etsy.

Whether there's constant construction going on outside their window, or their baby is fussy for some other reason, nearly every new parent will appreciate a Deep Sleep Sound Spa ($19.99). Here's hoping it gets baby to sleep longer because for new parents, the gift of sleep is invaluable.

Parents often find it hard to make time for the gym (without having to shell out extra cash for a babysitter in the process). Make a NYC mom or dad feel less out of shape with a FitBit Flex ($99.99), which tracks how much they walk—probably a lot in this city!—and how many calories they burn. Unfortunately, it also tracks how much sleep you get, which is likely not a whole lot. 

This is a seriously practical under-$10 stocking stuffer. Strollers are the minivans of New York City, and they need to cover a lot of mileage and carry a lot of stuff (groceries mostly). The Mommy Hook ($9.99 for two) helps that happen. A total must for parents with stroller-aged kids.

If your friends or family members are new parents, you can assume they have absolutely no time to cook (or even think about cooking). The little-known gift new parents appreciate most: meals they don't have to prepare and can just heat up. (Yes, they can order takeout, but this feels a little more homey, for a lot less work.) Luckily, FreshDirect stocks good ones and delivers all over the city.

Another thing new parents don't have time for: cleaning. If you're looking to spend over $100, there's perhaps no better gift than a cleaning service (we review a bunch of the ones available  across the city here). Just make sure you check with them on when it's most convenient to send someone their way. 

For those kids who have everything—or just really small apartments—experiential gifts are much appreciated. And the non-profit Big Apple Circus, which comes to Lincoln Center every year,  is a true New York City classic. It's only one ring, which means that none of the seats are more than 50 feet from the action. Prices range from $25 to $175 and performances run through January 10.

The movie and TV-centric Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria is perfect for older kids. Buy a family membership ($150, 100 percent tax deductible) and the family gets unlimited free admission to regular screenings and galleries for up to four children and two adults, discounts on specially ticketed previews and panel discussions, discounts to all family workshops and performances, eight free arcade game tokens per child per visit and even discounts to some local restaurants and shops (particularly great for Queens families!).


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