12/07/12 11:00am

Whether your endgoal is providing gifts for nieces and nephews at Hanukkah (which starts the night of Dec. 8!), co-workers for Christmas, or dear friends for Kwanzaa, we’ve all got serious shopping to do. You may not be aware of the wealth of independently owned shops around Queens where you can find something unique and interesting while at the same time supporting your neighbors, so we’ve rounded a few up.

In Boutiques and Specialty Shops


SITE, located at 35-11 34th Avenue (GMAP), brings together the energy of Astoria with good taste in design. It’s a hub of the locally made and the otherwise carefully sourced and an all-around great spot for gifts sure to delight recipients and brighten rooms. Right now the store’s collection of holiday ornaments is inspired – colorful seated Buddhas, glittery clip-on mushrooms and running dinosaurs – but the shop carries a full array of items for the home, kitchen tools, exotic aromatic lotions, device cases, decorative prints, tasty goodies and fun wearables.


12/06/12 11:00am

There’s a lot of talk these days of buying local, for both environmental and economic reasons, plus the fun of giving or receiving something that’s not mass produced. Queens has its share of independent businesses coming out with items that are original enough to impress your pickiest gift recipients this year. We did some digging on Etsy and elsewhere, and were impressed with the local talent. Here are some of our picks from Queens artists:

Holiday Cards and Gift Packaging


Image source: Etsy – handmade cards by Cutiepie Company

Ordering handmade cards will reduce the chance of you sending the same cards as someone else in your social circle. Check out these “warm and cozy” patterned sheep cards by Sunnyside-based Cutiepie Company. Or this stenciled series of animals festively playing musical instruments by Jamaica’s Mayuko Fujino, who is donating all proceeds to WFMU, a radio station in Jersey City that was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Another option is this whimsical tree-and-reindeer card made by AvocadoChange of Astoria.


11/30/12 10:00am


The weekend is just about here, and we bet some of you will be out shopping for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Solstice gifts. Where do you like to buy gifts locally?  Is there a shop you wish everyone knew about? Are you going shopping at a holiday market this weekend? We’d love to know – leave us a comment here or via twitter at @queensnycity.

BTW, here are a couple of resources for your shopping this weekend, in case you’re stuck or need some inspiration:

How to be the coolest aunt or uncle: Hip kids’ gift and toy stores in Astoria, Corona, and Elmhurst [QNYC]
Queens Holiday Markets 2012 [QNYC]

11/28/12 10:00am


Image source: Giving Tuesday

So far we’ve had the commercial shopping days of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. A newish shopping day was yesterday – Giving Tuesday. Frankly, we hadn’t heard about it until this year – it’s a campaign organized by Manhattan’s 92 Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, and we think it’s a pretty nice idea.

So, do you like to give end of year gifts to charities or non profits? By the way, if you are looking for a place to give, we’ve put together a post on non profit giving as it pertains to Queens. We’d love to know what you think about seasonal charitable giving and Giving Tuesday. Leave us a comment here or via twitter at @queensnycity.

08/10/12 3:50pm

Before heading to your next kiddie birthday party, stop by one of these shops in Queens for unique toys and gifts that won’t be the same as what your young friends already have, or what everyone else just saw on the shelves at Toys“R”Us.

MGS World/Morning Glory in Flushing is your go-to spot for adorable Asian stationery and back-to-school items. Earning love from a Hello Kitty enthusiast is easy with a trip to this store—plus you can browse through the mini origami paper, sticky notes in various shapes, chopstick sets, Angry Birds memorabilia, and plenty of creative stocking stuffer/party favor-type ideas that you never even knew existed. (GMAP)


SITE in Astoria offers colorful, design-minded items for everyone from babies to teenagers to adults. You could pick up a wooden stir fry or sushi playset, a circus-themed rubber stamp set, a cheerful picture frame made of colored pencils, or a onesie declaring your baby’s love of Astoria.