You Know You Want It

Gifts for addicts and fanatics

We understand your plight. This is the year you were hoping to put some actual thought into the gifts you buy for those special freaks in your life. Yet you're weary on what to get them. You already think they should kick some habits and stow away the absurd collections that have taken over their apartments. No need to be judgmental. This is the season to celebrate all those idiosyncrasies that make your family and friends unique. We scavenged around and found just the right things for all the addicts and fanatics you love—and sometimes even hate.


FOR THE GAMBLER

Crosley Stack-O-Matic Traveler, three-speed record player, $179.95
photo: Holly McDade
Crosley Stack-O-Matic Traveler, three-speed record player, $179.95

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Miniature Roulette Wheel, $34.99
photo: Holly McDade
Whether you're shopping for a casual card player or a hardcore slot jockey, Blatt Billiards offers a wide array of gifts for gamers of all stripes. For novice poker players, a rotary chip tray ($19.99) and dealer's requisite green visor ($8) make for the perfect starter kit. For more seasoned enthusiasts, there are automatic shufflers ($40) and designer playing cards with reproductions of Klimt, Manet, and M.C. Escher ($15). And of course, no home casino is complete without a miniature roulette wheel ($34.99). If your giftee also enjoys a good cigar with his or her gaming, then Nat Sherman, self-proclaimed tobacconist to the world, is the next place to visit. A James Bond–cool humidor-and-game-set combo runs $150, but if that's out of your range, a compact cigar cutter and ashtray can be had for $50. For even tinier budgets, their house brand cigars start around $2. MULLINS

Blatt Billiards, 809 Bway, 212-674-8855; Nat Sherman, 500 Fifth Ave, 212-764-5000


FOR THE CHOWHOUND

The only thing that makes buying food-related gifts a chore is the sheer abundance of specialty shops, like mighty Kalustyan's on Curry Hill, that literally have everything one wants. For lovers of exotica, buy a candy-colored creelof woven plastic from Matamoros Puebla ($14.95–$24.95) and fill it with imported spices, candies, and other Mexican treats, plus some of the city's best fresh tamales (pork or chicken, $1.50 each). Visit Bonnie Slotnick for a selection of vintage New York cookbooks that she boasts "ranges from Alfredo's to Zabar's." Though the copper cookie cutters ($7.99–$14.99) and candied violets ($9.99 for 2.5 ounces) from a certain Chelsea baker's emporium fascinate, the real treasures spied on a recent reconnaissance mission there were gorgeous edible copper glitter ($3.99 for 0.25 ounces) and Marimekko-hued edible-ink markers ($7.99 for eight). I confess my thoughts about how these two items might best be employed were not strictly culinary in nature. BEGHTOL

Kalustyan's, 123 Lexington Ave, 212-685-3451; Matamoros Puebla, 193 Bedford Ave, Bklyn, 718-782-5044; Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, 163 W 10th, 212-989-8962; New York Cake & Baking Distributors, 56 W 22nd, 212-675-CAKE


FOR THE MACABRE-INCLINED

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Rat skull pendant, $40 Bedebug pendant, $50
photo: Holly McDade
Just because one's tastes lie along subterranean strata doesn't mean said aestheticism can't come in refined packages. One favorite is the eclectic and curatorially exquisite Saved Gallery of Art and Craft, sort of an ABC Carpet & Home (and clothing store and tattoo shop!) for the Billyburg bedhead set. Though not a goth boutique by any means, they do have plenty of the dark and strange: vintage-like threads (with gothic and old-school tat designs, $50–$100), Persian ceramics, and Victo rian-inspired jewelry and antiques, perfect for the discerning Beetlejuice Betty in your life. Way expensive but way tasteful is East Village's John Derian Company; not so much a haven for hipsterati or the clad-in-black, but a treasure trove of antiques and odd and elegant decoupages ("centuries-old" paper images arranged under glass) of skeletons, animals, flora, and sea life ($20–$850). For the more out-there (and more affordable) try Bedebug, an online jeweler specializing in dead curiosities—bugs (beetles, spiders, dragonflies), rat skulls, scorpions, starfish—encased in hand-sculpted resin ($25–$50). Note: No specimens were harmed or killed to make these designs. BOSLER

Saved Gallery of Art and Craft, 82 Berry St, Bklyn, 718-388-5990; John Derian Company, 6 E 2nd, 212-677-7197; Bedebug, bedebug.com.


FOR THE WINE CONNOISSEUR

Don't let snobby sommeliers scare you away from finding that perfect gift for your wino friends. Those not confined to a budget should invest in an evening tasting sponsored by wine house Acker Merrall & Condit. December events include a 1990 versus 1991 red burgundy tasting, led by the renowned wine expert and critic Steve Tanzer ($545 a person). Those with a lighter wallet can swing by the MOMA Design Store and pick up the Rosendahl wine stopper, a sleek and sophisticated creation flawlessly combining Scandinavian minimalism with a twist of Mediterranean warmth. Created by Erik Bagger and produced by the Danish design company, the cone-shaped stopper, with the stainless steel top and black rubber base, impressively combines form and function for $48. Or brave the Christmas hell of Macy's for a pair of Riedel wine glasses from the sexy, stemless "O" collection. The Austrian company made a name for itself by designing each glass to complement a different vintage, depositing various wines on a different parts of the tongue to accentuate the flavors. Two glasses made for pinot noir and Nebbiolo, or two made for Riesling and sauvignon blanc, come to a scant $19.98. The story of "O" never looked better. BRAUNSCHWEIGER

Acker Merrall & Condit retail store, 160 W 72nd, 212-787-1700; MOMA Design Store, 81 Spring, 646-613-1367; Macy's, 151 W 34th, 212-695-4400

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