NYC-specific gift ideas
March 23, 2019 2:18 AM   Subscribe

My BFF has just passed her PhD viva (with no corrections!). It's her birthday next Tuesday and then she's flying to New York on Saturday for a week with her partner. We're in London, what can I get her for her birthday that she can enjoy in NYC? I'm thinking maybe a gift card for food or drinks somewhere cool? Or some sort of experiential gift? She's staying in Brooklyn near Utica Ave subway. Details inside:

- she hasn't been to the USA before
- she's very clever, likes books!
- also likes delicious vegetarian food and cocktails
- If possible I'd rather support a local business than a big chain
- max budget is around 60 dollars

posted by Lotto to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My immediate thought was tickets for the Tenement Museum. It's really, really good. You do book a specific time, though, so that's a downside to it as a gift idea.
posted by hoyland at 4:38 AM on March 23, 2019 [5 favorites]

Don’t know about gift card but two EXCELLENT vegetarian options are Superiority Burger and Dirt Candy. Very different experiences but both amazing can’t miss.
posted by sestaaak at 4:56 AM on March 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

ABCV is also a wonderful vegetarian option (and seconding sestaaak's recommendations strongly as well!)

I don't know if they do gift cards, but Smorgasburg is a fun, outdoor food market (tons of veggie options) and it's on every weekend starting April 6.
posted by snaw at 5:53 AM on March 23, 2019

Saraghina has tasty food and is near the Utica Ave stop. Their website indicates that they offer gift cards, but the link doesn't work so you might contact them.
posted by D.Billy at 6:31 AM on March 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

If she's a Tolkein nerd, this is happening now. Hits your "books" requirement....
posted by lalochezia at 6:36 AM on March 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

As in London, $60 won't get two people a restaurant meal in a highly rated restaurant, so I would go with a gift card to something deliciously NYC: a great pizza dinner! Juliana's has gift cards and with pizza, salad, tip and beers for two will be about $60. You could also give them a smaller gift card to Juliana's or some other pizza place with a fun good atmosphere -- not a quick slice place -- read up on them AND a gift card for an Uber, Lyft or local NYC car service. Nothing wrong with the subway, but in a weekend of subway-taking it really is a super fun treat to look out the window of a cab getting while around NYC, and that gets expensive fast.
posted by nantucket at 6:41 AM on March 23, 2019

Best answer: I came by to second the recommendation for the Tenement Museum. To expand a little bit, the only way to visit is by tour -- if it's a first time I would definitely go with one of the apartment tours instead of the neighborhood walking tours (which are also good, but you could sort of self-construct a neighborhood walking tour whereas you simply can't get into the tenement building without going on the tour.)

It fits exactly within your max budget as two adult tours will cost $60. The tours do sell out so I would let your friend know sooner rather than later, and definitely reserve one.

If your friends happen to be of Irish/German/Italian/Eastern European Jewish background, for a bit of a nice touch they could always go on one of the tours that focuses on the corresponding families (but they're all excellent).

As for a local business, I think the museum is a great cause -- its mission is really trying to get us to better empathize with and understand the immigrant experience, which I think we'd all agree is sorely needed these days. Finally, if your friend likes books, the museum bookstore has an excellent selection of NYC/NYC history/immigration related books.

(I promise I don't work for the museum -- it's just one of my favorite museums in NYC, especially because my interests tend more toward the history-type museum instead of the fine art-type.)
posted by andrewesque at 7:46 AM on March 23, 2019 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Maybe there are local airbnb experiences for which you can get gift cards.
posted by Elsie at 10:06 AM on March 23, 2019

Honestly, I'd get her some kind of cool, nerdy, tiara, or a flower crown. You could get leis delivered. more, more, more, crowns
posted by theora55 at 11:36 AM on March 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

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