Monday, November 16, 2015

Forget the "I Heart NY" t-shirts and Statue of
Liberty figurines.
These locally made souvenirs show how well you really know
the city.
Though there are plenty of shops in Manhattan selling snow
globes, figurines, and clothing that sports the ever-ubiquitous "I Heart NY"
logo, savvy travelers know there are better purchases to be made in the Big
Apple.
Always ahead of the trends, New Yorkers are known for innovation, which
means visitors can find unique keepsakes and gifts unavailable anywhere
else.
These are some of our favorites, from liquor distilled in Brooklyn to
tote bags that subtly bestow an insider status on the wearer.
New York Distilling Company Gin & Rye Anyone who appreciates this
city's cocktail culture will love the small batch spirits by the New York
Distilling Company, which are poured in bars city-wide.
Located in
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the distillery offers free tours and tastings on the
weekends.
After sampling a few cocktails made with their signature gins and
ryes at the on-site bar called the Shanty, you'll want to bring home a
bottle or two and mix up your own gimlets and sazeracs.
Mapping Manhattan A collection of personalized maps by New Yorkers both
anonymous and famous, Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in
Maps by 75 New Yorkers compiles dozens of personal recollections about the Big
Apple.
Author Becky Cooper distributed blank maps to the contributors and
asked people to annotate them with personal associations instead of major
landmarks.
The result is a touching compilation of illustrated maps that has
been compared to Post Secret for its confessional quality.
Mast Brothers Chocolate For a sweet remembrance of your time in New York,
pick up a bar or two by Brooklyn's favorite artisanal bean-to-bar
chocolatiers.
The Mast Brothers revamped their flagship store in Williamsburg
earlier this year with a streamlined design, more tours, and new bonbon
flavors.
With beautifully designed wrapping, they make great gifts, too.
Best
of all: the bars are so small you can bring back several.
Model Water Tower Skip the cheesy Statue of Liberty figurines and instead
pick up a model water tower kit.
Locally crafted by Boundless Brooklyn, the
DIY water towers are made of recycled chipboard and are fun gifts for crafty
kids (and adults) who can assemble and decorate their own.
Nearly as
widespread as real water towers, the kits are available at MoMA Design Stores,
PowerHouse Books, Owl and Thistle General Store, Red Pearl, the High Line, and
many other shops around the city.
Sweets by Momofuku Milk Bar Award-winning pastry chef Christina Tosi
turns out famously quirky-but-addictive treats like crack pie, compost
cookies, and cake truffles.
Though there are now seven Milk Bar locations in
New York, Washington D.C., and Toronto, it all began in Manhattan's East
Village.
Stop into any of the bakery's New York City locations to pick up
some sweets to go, or have them shipped when you buy online.
Aspiring pastry
chefs can even take a class at the Williamsburg production kitchen or take
home one of Tosi's cookbooks.
Whitney Museum Tote Bag Skip the 'I heart NY' gear—insiders show
their allegiance to New York's top spots by carrying a tote bag subtly
emblazoned with the name of a favorite museum, gallery, or bookshop.
For art
lovers, a canvas tote from the new Whitney Museum in the Meatpacking district
is the bag du jour.
For bibliophiles, a tote from the Union Square literary
mecca known as The Strand is a must-have.
Laura Itzkowitz is a contributing digital editor at Travel + Leisure.
You
can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @lauraitzkowitz.
Looking for what to buy in New York when you visit? These city
souvenirs are perfect presents, and make you look like an insider.

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