6 Quintessential New York Gifts

We haven’t conducted any polls, but if we did, we’re willing to bet that New York City would rank No. 1 for most-missed city in America. How do we know? Well, for one, there have been books, essay collections, films and songs written about bidding it farewell (there are 12 songs with the word “goodbye” in the title in the Wikipedia entry on New York City songs, in case you were wondering). Plus, our New York City candles are big-time bestsellers, and if that doesn’t indicate longing, we don’t know what does.

New York candle

Things that smell, taste, look and feel like the place have a special way of bringing you back, igniting memories and making you feel like you’re still there, which is why the following gifts are so great for the former New Yorker on your list or anyone who’s got a deep affinity for the city that never sleeps.

1. A Candle That Smells Like a Spring Day in Central Park—Featuring top notes of bergamot, lemon and grapefruit with mid notes of concrete, this hand-poured New York candle is the closest thing there is to picnicking in Sheep Meadow on a Saturday in May (besides the real thing, of course). It embodies the energy and excitement of the place like nothing else on this list. Shop three sizes: Classic, Mini and Three-Wick.

2. A Copy of “Here is New York” by E.B. White—As one of America’s preeminent literary figures, E.B. White is best-known for penning noteworthy children’s books like Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web, but one of his most underrated works is the short essay “Here is New York.” The piece has been called “the quintessential love letter to the city,” thanks in part to nuggets like this: 

“The city is like poetry: it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines. The island of Manhattan is without any doubt the greatest human concentrate on earth, the poem whose magic is comprehensible to millions of permanent residents but whose full meaning will always remain elusive.”  

3. A Dozen Bagels from Russ & Daughters—Cronuts, pastrami, those street peanuts that smell way too good to be true. There are just certain foods you’ll only find done right in New York–like bagels. Insiders know that it’s the (actually insanely delicious) New York City water that makes these round, doughy delights so good and so exclusive to the five boroughs. Give the gift of a dozen bagels and some lox from Russ & Daughters, one of the O.G. Jewish delis that’s been in its famous Houston Street storefront for more than 100 years. 

Bagels from Russ & Daughters

4. A Bottle of Fragrance Oil That Takes You Back—Who says you can’t bottle up a place? With our  New York City Fragrance Oil, we’ve boiled down all the best parts about a warm day in Midtown into an oil you can diffuse into the air. Just like our signature candles, this oil fills your space with the essence of New York, complete with bergamot, lemon, grapefruit, sandalwood, musk and nostalgia-inducing concrete.  

New York City Fragrance Oil

5. A Six-Pack of New York-Brewed Beer—For best results, give beer. Admittedly, New York has lagged behind other metropolitan centers in terms of the craft brewing scene (breweries require space, of which New York has little), but the stuff it does produce is something to write home about. Again, it probably has something to do with the water, at least that’s our theory. Some good options, beyond the obvious Brooklyn Brewery, can be found on Craftshack.com.

6. A Slice of Table 87 Pizza—We’re not saying it’s the best pie on the block—there are hundreds that claim that title on the streets of New York, of course—but Table 87 pizza will definitely satiate your craving for a giant, foldable slice of NY pie, even if you live on the West Coast. The real reason why we added this noteworthy joint to this list is the fact that they ship their coal oven pizzas, in frozen form, throughout the United States. Sign us up for repeat deliveries, please.

Nothing beats the real thing, but if you can’t be in New York, these sweet gifts are a bit of a consolation. The key is to shower a longing recipient with things that appeal to the senses, with flavors, feelings and smells that remind them of being back in the greatest city on Earth.