Gifting 2016

The best presents for space-starved NYC apartments

By S. Jhoanna Robledo | December 13, 2016 - 9:59AM 

Who doesn't like getting presents? But when the gifted lives in a New York City apartment with limited square footage, it pays to be mindful of this logistical nightmare, too.

Here, a sampling of wares that will please New Yorkers on your gift list and won't have them wishing they had the space to keep your keepsake. Best yet, they're all available online and through the websites' brick-and-mortar outlets in the city:

Chunky candles brighten up a space, literally and figuratiely, but can clutter it up quickly, too. So when you find candle-holders that aren't just slim but are also chic, you can't go wrong. Bonus points if they're also affordable, like this selection of hand-blown glass taper varieties from CB2 ($4.95 each). 

Whether one rents or owns, apartments are the most prized possession of many New Yorkers. Keep the keys to your friend's casa in style with the  simple-but-elegant closed helix brass keyring ($30) from Brooklyn-based shop, Beam. 


When there's little room for furniture, and therefore fewer surfaces on which to display accessories and other knick-knacks, a handsome jewelry case that folds open and closed, like this tuck box from the Museum of Modern Art ($35), is a find.

Porcelain coasters from Williamsburg shop Concrete + Water ($36) protect from water stains what little furniture you can fit into a small space, and they stack up neatly in a small package.

Even the biggest plant-phobe will forgive you for this gift of a Calvert with Succulents ($38) from the Lower East Side's The Sill. It's sweet, sleek (the pot has clean lines), and small (no more than five inches tall), easy to care for (in other words, hard to kill), and comes with a 30-day guarantee. 

Marie Kondo-types may bristle at the idea of adding yet another book to a bibliophile's arsenal—unless said bibliophile is gifted with yards and yards of shelving in a massive loft. But Philip Trager's photographs in New York in the 1970s (available at the Strand for $55 signed) is a must-have that won't occupy too much real estate, except on the coffee table. And even then it'll double as both a design and educational element, serving as a pictorial and architectural history of NYC neighborhoods during a turbulent decade. 

The best present for NYC dwellers is one that doesn't take any space at all; even better is if it helps them explore the city they call home. A one-year membership to the Museum of the City of New York ($80 for individuals) is the gift that will keep on giving, thanks to the museum's endless stream of exhibits that inform and inspire. (On view right now: "Mastering the Metropolis," which traces the history of zoning and its influence on NYC's landscape in fascinating detail.) That the museum itself is housed in a stunning Georgian Colonial Revival Fifth Avenue building is an architectural bonus.  



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