The Official BORO Gift Guide
The words “holiday shopping” often have unpleasant connotations: crowds, indecision, stress. This year, leave all that behind (and no, we don’t mean buy gift cards for everyone on your list). BORO has compiled some of the best gift stores in Western Queens, perfect for discovering new local businesses and revisiting old favorites. The owners of each of these shops gave us their top three gift recommendations; you’re sure to find something unique and special. So, this holiday season, explore your neighborhood and support the stores that give Western Queens its distinct and loveable character.
35-11 34th Ave, Astoria
SITE, which celebrated its 5th birthday in April, has become a neighborhood favorite and a celebrated Astoria shopping destination. The assortment of delightful and largely locally made products – including jewelry, home décor and children’s items –have made this store a great success story.
- Queens Typographic Map, $25: Colorful maps of Queens (Brooklyn and Manhattan also available) are hand-drawn by local artist James McDonald. Signed and part of a limited series; available in two colors.
- Colorblock Mortar & Pestle, $38: Eco-friendly bamboo is given the colorblock treatment with Earth-friendly paints. A perfect hostess or home cook gift.
- Chic Convertible Lunch Tote, $16.95: Made from recycled water bottles, these totes are fully insulated, hold a full-size bottle of water and fold up into a tiny size for easy transport.
5-35 51st Ave, LIC
If you haven’t checked out this new store in Hunters Point, the holidays are the perfect excuse to stop in. LIC Living has items for men, women and children, and their carefully curated selection guarantees whatever you choose will be a hit!
- IZOLA Flask, $24: A time-honored accessory for men, this flask is perfect for boyfriend, brother, father or husband – even for the right woman!
- Nora Norway Riviera Bracelet, $75: You can’t go wrong with jewelry for the women in your life. This bracelet sparkles with versatility, as you can wear it with jeans or a cocktail dress.
- Ugly Children’s Clothing Playsuit, Onesie or Dress, $55-$75: This revival of the iconic and nostalgic Norwegian Marius pattern, with eco-friendly bamboo cotton, comes in a variety of kid-friendly styles.
48-09 Skillman Ave, Sunnyside
This Sunnyside shop is a must-see for anyone who likes to support local artists. If you’re shopping for someone with artistic sensibilities, this is an ideal spot for home décor, jewelry, accessories and more!
- Paddywax Relish Candles, $9-$18: These festive candles come in 3 oz. and 9.5 oz. sizes.
- Vinyl Holiday Albums, $5-$12: These records will get you grooving in the holiday spirit.
- Octopus Ornament, $16: This cute little guy is made out of pink mercury glass. He’ll be sure to adorn a tree for years to come.
26-16 23rd Ave, Astoria
This store for young children not only sells great products, but also offers various classes for adults and children, including arts and crafts. Their handmade items all make for great, personal gifts that cannot be found elsewhere.
- Handmade Rag Dolls, $45: Pipa (featured) is a one-of-a-kind doll handmade by Gaetano Cannella of Bushwick. She comes with removable dress, shoes and a hand-painted face.
- Handmade Dresses, $58: These dresses, made by Kazuki Kozuru-Salifoska of babyNOIR, are cotton cord paired with cotton floral print, with a contrasting net overlay. Comes in sizes for six months through eight years, and other sizes can be custom made.
- Handknit Scarf With A Car, $25: Made by Olivera Luc, a Jackson Heights resident, this short scarf has a slit for the car to go through and secure on your child’s neck. Knit with the softest wool/acrylic/cashmere yarn.
28-07 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria
This friendly, eclectic store is a one-stop gift shop for the variety of people in your life, offering home décor, books, jewelry, popular scented candles and more. Inside Astoria also has a section for babies and young children, making it a great bet if you’re shopping for parents and their kids.
- “Modern Cocktail” Mixers, $15: Just add alcohol! These sets (Modern Margaritas and Tropical Highballs, for example) can each make five different drinks.
- Iron Reindeer With Votive, $17: This decorative candleholder is 12” tall and perfectly fits the spirit for the holidays.
- Astoria Tees, $19.95: For your friends and family who love Western Queens. These tees come in all adult sizes.
26-11 23rd Ave, Astoria
Raising Astoria is a great place to shop for toddlers’/children’s toys that have a purpose. As owner Kimberly Monitni says, “we’re constantly researching innovative and interesting products that enhance the cognitive and motor skills of young children.”
- “Far West Story Express” with Wooden Train Set From Janod Toys, $80: Designed in France, this set includes the 15-piece wooden Story Box Far West, the Far West Train and a railway containing different wooden characters.
- “Musical Band” From Plan Toys, $60: A unique drum set fit for a toddler, made with natural wood and non-toxic paints and dyes. The innovative design allows kids to quietly bang away while sitting or standing as it conveniently fits on the ground or on a tabletop.
- “Confetti Ukulele” from Janod Toys, $35: A stylish toddler-sized ukulele for boys and girls, painted with non-toxic colors.
25-09 36th Ave, Astoria
This thrift/vintage store features a regularly changing inventory of clothing, home décor, dining ware and art. Plus, when you shop here, you’ll take pleasure in the knowledge that your money is helping people out during the holidays: all profits from Changes go to Hour Children, an LIC-based nonprofit that provides services to incarcerated mothers and their families.
Inventory is always changing. On our last visit, we spotted a 1950’s Fur Trim Coat ($100), a Chinese Coffee Table ($150) and a 1960’s Japanese Coffee Set. Very cool stuff. Just keep digging!
34-10 36th Ave, Astoria
One glance into Apollo Gallery’s front windows tell you that this thrift/vintage shop is filled to the brim with a wide assortment of decorative items you won’t find elsewhere. Shoppers here should keep in mind that Apollo Gallery’s owners are usually willing to negotiate on prices.
Inventory is always changing. Seen on our last trip: an Angel Statuette ($100), a Bohemian Glass Vase ($125) and porcelain Cappuccino Mugs ($6 each).