Going away present for a friend's upcoming move to NYC/new life at Columbia.
March 30, 2009 8:04 AM   Subscribe

A good friend of mine is moving to NYC in a couple of weeks, to begin the Master's program in journalism at Columbia. Please help me think of a nice, relatively affordable going-away present!

For a few more details: she is quite well-off, so it's not like she needs anything she wouldn't be able to get herself. She's 22, well-traveled, quite cosmopolitan yet, I would say, fairly "girly". She's having a pretty big celebration this weekend and I'd like to get her something thoughtful that she can remember me by. It would be cool if it were somehow related to her upcoming grad program, but a nice pen seems so uninspired.

Thanks for any help you guys can give me!
posted by nonmerci to Shopping (13 answers total)
Best answer: E.B. White's "Here is New York" is an absolutely inspired essay on the city where she is moving to and would be the perfect gift for a new NYC resident as well as a Columbia journalism grad student who presumably appreciates great writing.
posted by TBoneMcCool at 8:11 AM on March 30, 2009

Journalists also need conveniently-small cameras and most of all, voice recorders for interviews. There are some pretty girly models of each out there.

Other top-o-headers: Moleskin or similar nice notebooks (they make one with a built-in NYC street and subway map that is pretty cool). A pack of nice SASE's and notepaper so she writes you letters back. A CD or three of "local" music from your own city (Portland) so she doesn't get all East-Coastified.

A sweater. It gets cold and rainy here too.
posted by rokusan at 8:12 AM on March 30, 2009

Maybe Field Notes?
posted by sharkfu at 8:17 AM on March 30, 2009

I'll second rokusan's suggestion of the Moleskine notebook with the NYC maps in it. That was definitely one of the better gifts I received when I moved to New York, and nearly two years later, I'm still using it.
posted by TBoneMcCool at 9:22 AM on March 30, 2009

As an NYC journalist (who now works part-time) I heartily second getting her a recorder. Don't get her anything super-girly because she'll have to shove it in the faces of city protesters and local officials. A moleksine is nice but a little cliche, though the maps are indeed helpful. A subscription to MediaBistro's AvantGuild membership would be helpful, though make sure she doesn't get a comped one at the journalism program.

Your friend is probably well aware of the grim state of journalism right now (as is Columbia), so she needs to rally her confidence with great essays that will remind her that good journalism is indeed quite important. I'd recommend collections of essays from sources like Best American Magazine Writing, or the individual collections of writers like Gore Vidal, Matt Taibbi, and even DFW.
posted by zoomorphic at 9:50 AM on March 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think a whole sort of "combined package" of the Moleskine notebook-with-maps, a copy of the latest Not For Tourists guide to New York, and a copy of This Is New York would be lovely. The notebook would be handy, the essay is a lovely read, and the NFT guides are really, really useful for not only maps and orienting yourself, but also for tracking down specific services in specific neighborhoods (i.e., "where are all the Kinkos' in the Upper West Side").
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:57 AM on March 30, 2009

Response by poster: I should note that she's spent a decent amount of time in NYC, and lived there for a summer internship, so I'm leaning more towards suggestions like the E.B. White essay, as opposed to the more touristy, getting started maps, &c.

Please keep them coming!

(And I'm wary of buying a recorder, because I think she could get something really nice by herself, and I have no idea where to even start.)
posted by nonmerci at 10:12 AM on March 30, 2009

Batteries and extra stock for the recorder. Not necessarily a showy gift, but one that will definitely be used and usually annoying to buy for oneself.
posted by spec80 at 10:20 AM on March 30, 2009

Best answer: Ooh, maybe a subscription to TIME OUT NEW YORK? Or a certificate for same, if you don't know her address. (Unless you know she hates it or something, of course.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:07 AM on March 30, 2009

Similar question I asked last year.
posted by greta simone at 11:27 AM on March 30, 2009

Slightly touristy, but there are still some nice things, is the New York Transit Museum Store. I'd check the "accessories" category and the bag and tote section. There are some fairly cute clutches.
posted by sciencegeek at 11:36 AM on March 30, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, greta. I had trouble coming up with anything meaningful with the search, and this is basically the same thing. Whoops!
posted by nonmerci at 11:47 AM on March 30, 2009

J-skul? Get her a life jacket!

(Seriously, she'll think it's funny in a mordant way.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:53 PM on March 30, 2009

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