Gotham Gifts


The New York Transit Museum Shop offers what must be the most ingenious use of subway tokens ever. Where else can you find a sterling silver charm bracelet with new and vintage tokens from transit systems across the U.S ($58), token earrings ($19.95), and doubtless the tastiest version, 50-cent dark chocolate tokens covered in gold foil and embossed with "good for one fare"? Not everything is MTA related: Weighty enamel key rings celebrate London tube stops, and the world-famous exhortation to "Mind the Gap," printed on sturdy white cotton T-shirts, in the company of MTA subway-line bestsellers. Grand Central Concourse, 878-0106 (MCPHERSON)


The minute Daily 235 began by selling Kismet chewing gum and the daily papers. Now whether it's Japanese caramels packaged to look like red and white dice ($4) or orange and yellow vinyl pencil pouches ($18 and up), the limited number of objects keeps the selection quirky, not kitschy. Pick up an Egyptian cat eraser ($2) or a box of beautifully packaged chocolate cigarettes from Holland, tuck in a pair of old-fashioned bubble ponytail holders, add an orange Rhodia notebook, and your holiday shopping is done. For hedonists, there are Votivo candles, soap, and incense, and a tantric yoga calendar for 2002. Next year in nirvana. 235 Elizabeth Street, 334-9728 (MCPHERSON)


Dearest Hindi filmi follower, why hasn't Govinda learned his lesson? Does Twinkle Khanna want to make dhosas with Sunny Deol? Will Raju Chacha be crybaby lipstick rani Kajol's comeback film? Even if responses aren't at the ready, holiday gifts for your Bollywood-following friends are. Go to Neena Sari Palace, which is less fancy than the exalted ISP (who calls it India Sari Palace?) but thriftier. There are glittery bangles ($3 per dozen), flowing kurta pajamas ($25 and up), vampy lengha cholis—think ballroom skirts with ornate, skimpy halters ($75 and up), and, of course, luscious, lustrous silk or cotton saris that can cost as little as 15 bucks. Voilà exotica! 37-23 74th Street, Queens, 718-651-1500 (RAO)


Darling, dreamy Fusilla is a confidante of mine. But what a drab dresser! Inside her hatbox, the pickings are slim. Holidays being a season for redemption, presents for Fusilla always come from Girlprops.com. Here the motto is "Inexpensive—We Never Say Cheap." The store is crammed with trendy accessories: spangled cat's-eye sunglasses ($9.99), funky beaded turquoise bracelets (a six-stranded version is $6.99), rhinestone bra-strap chokers ($2.99), and even a hot-pink "Cleopatra" wig ($19.99). For disposable items, these products are sturdy. Last year's black feather boa even got Fusilla a date with Oleg. He must have a thing for nude hose and ostrich fringes. 153 Prince Street, 505-7615 (RAO)


Brooklyn gal Minerva McNamara found the holidays vexing. As a party guest, she was much sought after—39 soirees in 31 days, imagine! At least the need for house gifts would give her an excuse to sift for heavenly delectables at D'Amico Foods. For 52 years, locals have depended on this quaint Carroll Gardens institution for Molto Buono house blend dark espresso, Italian Pepato pepper cheese, sopressetta, vanilla beans, and Genmaicha toasted rice tea. Minerva McNamara, mangia, mangia. 309 Court Street, Brooklyn, 718-875-5403 (RAO)


Vapid Sister and Textbook Cad are chronic cooers about gastronomy. With the holidays approaching, Cad's latest fad is Kitchen/Market, a whimsical gallery of Mexicana kitsch. Amid the folksy angel ornaments and painted crucifixes, Cad buys Vapid exotic epicurean delights: cajeta (goat's milk caramel), squash blossoms, pomegranate molasses, and a million barbecue and hot sauces (try "Jump Up and Kiss Me"). For those too lazy to journey to Chelsea, Kitchen/Market's condiment line is available via catalog (1-888-HOT-4433). 218 Eighth Avenue, 243-4433 (RAO)


The Voice's Holiday Preview:

"Seasonal Brew: Getting Into the Holiday Spirits"

"Holiday Happenings"

"Chow Choices: A Holiday Food Miscellany"

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