UPDATE: The Cornerstone Center on Bennett Avenue is having its annual pottery sale on December 4, 5, 11 and 12. And Inwood's "Off the Map" holiday market is occurring on December 4, 11 (at Bread and Yoga on 207 and Broadway) and December 18 (at Audobon Partnership at 513 West 207th).
We'd like to make a suggestion to our neighbors in Hudson Heights--buy (i.e., spend) locally during the holidays.
Everyone in this community wants to see more vibrant retail and restaurants in Hudson Heights and Washington Heights. The easiest way for most of us to contribute to that effort is to eat, drink and shop locally. And the holidays are the best time to start, particularly since most of us open our wallets a little wider at this time of year. Here are some suggestions for holiday giving and spending:
Restaurants and Bars. If your friends and family live uptown, this goal is easy. Take them out to eat in the neighborhood as your "gift" or give them a gift certificate to a local restaurant. My personal favorites are 181 Cabrini, the New Leaf Cafe and Bleu.
Clothing/Jewelry. Nostylgia at 251 Dyckman has a (limited) array of hip clothing and shoes. Visit the blog at www.nostylgia.wordpress.com. Odalis Salon on Cabrini Boulevard, just north of 181st Street, has cool jewelry on display. The craft fair at Hudson View Gardens usually includes a local jewelry artisan too (too late for 2010, but look for 2011). Local clothiers "Brazen Lingerie" make baby carriers and some more discrete ladies' items, www.theartofbabywearing.com.
Donations. Another option for local giving is a donation to a local organization that you think might be special to the recipient. Consider Fort Tryon Park Trust, Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance or New Yorkers for Parks. The Fort Tryon Park Trust also sells gift cards with wonderful images from the park. (Make sure to call to ensure delivery in time for the holidays).
Wine. The easiest gift is a bottle of wine from Cabrini Wines on 181st Street or Vines on Pine on Pinehurst. (If wine doesn't feel personal enough, how about giving the bottle with a card attached explaining that it was purchased locally or pairing it with one of the gifts below?)
Pets. Friends with pets? Critter on Pinehurst sells all sorts of pet toys. Or there's our particular favorite, the dog leash with the bag holder for cleaning up after the dog (which will be subject to its own future blog entry).
Bikers. "Treads" on Dyckman Street is a great bike shop and full of smaller items for gift giving like flashing lights for evening bikers.
Local artisans. The best place to pick up a gift locally is at the Hudson View Gardens Arts and Crafts Fair each autumn (the 2010 fair ends on November 20). (Note December craft and art fairs referenced above.)
Museums. Try the gift shops at the Cloisters (in Fort Tryon Park), the Morris Jumel Mansion (George Washington's summer home) or the Hispanic Society of America (on 155th and Broadway). You can also purchase memberships to these institutions.
Art. You might also try scouting out some local artists. You can visit the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance gallery on Bennett Avenue from 11 to 5 p.m. on weekdays. You can visit the restaurant "181 Cabrini" and check out its rotating exhibits. Or you can check out some of our favorite local artists: www.kloew.com; www.VickiFremont.com; www.navahjo.com. If the prices for originals are too high, consider asking the artists about prints.
Religion. The gift shop at Mother Cabrini Shrine on Fort Washington Avenue is full of worthwhile religious gifts especially for your devout Irish, Italian or Latin grandmother.
Food. Franks Market on 187th Street and La Rosa on Broadway and 178th sell various specialty food products. What's more useful than food! Ask them about making gift baskets for you or make your own. Indian Road Cafe at 218th and Indian Road is a trek from Hudson Heights, but the coffee is excellent. They sell Counter Culture Coffee by the cup or by the bag. Add one of these to your gift basket!
Children's Toys and Other Gifts. Hilltop Pharmacy at 187th Street and Fort Washington Avenue has an oddball collection of toys, sports balls, picture frames, vases and other giftable items. Wiggles and Giggles (yes, that's the name) at the western end of 181st Street sells higher-end children's toys. (I still haven't figured out exactly what W&G does. But it seems to host children's birthday parties, play dates for kids and other kid-focused events).
K&R Florist. Hudson Heights lost its only florist several years ago to the new Stein Perry real estate shop on 187th Street. I like the selection of holiday items at K&R Florist in Inwood, located at Broadway and 207th.
We'll continue to update this during the holiday season. Please forward any suggestions too!
Note: This is the first blog's entry in the category of "opinion."