the strategist

From a Sardis Umbrella to a Frick Cap: A New York City Merch Gift Guide

Photo: Mirrorpix/Getty Images

New York City merch may seem like something just for tourists, but those who live in the city know that a certain restaurant baseball cap or grocery store T-shirt can carry some real prestige. At the top of that prestige ladder are pieces from beloved closed, or soon-to-close, institutions — carrying, say, a Dean & Deluca tote or wearing a shirt from Café Loup demonstrates a certain city know-all. That said: Merch is generally not something you buy for yourself. If you’re eyeing that Scarr’s T-shirt while you wait in line to order, you’re more than likely going to just grab a slice and get going — making it an ideal gift for the NYC obsessive on your list. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite pieces, with something for everyone from your Morgan Library–loving dad to your Dimes-regular sister.

Met Campus Champion Sweatshirt

A crewneck that would make a fun gift for the art lover on your list, and that will look even better once it’s broken in.

MoMA Logo Long-Sleeve T-Shirt

And if the art lover prefers MoMA, try this bright long-sleeve tee, which was created to coincide with the museum’s recent reopening.

American Museum of Natural History Vintage Museum Facade Design

The vintage design on this Natural History Museum tote makes it look like something you stole from your cool aunt’s Upper West Side apartment.

American Museum of Natural History Slate Blue Cap

Same goes for this baseball cap, which has one of the handsomest fonts we’ve ever seen on a logo hat.

The Frick Collection Cap

An elegant baseball cap from one of the most elegant places in New York.

Brooklyn Museum Stencil Logo Mug

Only NY teamed up with the Brooklyn Museum to make merch inspired by the museum’s exhibition posters and memorabilia. The text on this mug draws from a retro “An Evening at the Brooklyn Museum” pamphlet.

Tenement Museum Pencil

An ideal small gift for the person who has been on multiple Tenement Museum tours.

Morgan Library Umbrella

Somber on the outside, stately on the inside.

NYPL Library Lion Paperweight

A regal companion for your desk.

Empire State Building Collectible Teaspoon

Who wouldn’t love a collectible teaspoon?

Zabar's Black Embroidered Logo Sweatshirt

The classic Upper West Side grocer’s merch is so astoundingly inexpensive — a T-shirt will set you back $6, and a mug only $4 — that you could gift it alongside some Zabar’s caviar.

Scarr's Pizza Pen

Scarr’s Pizza hats and T-shirts are currently sold out, so snag this pen before it’s too late.

Dimes Candle

A gift for your favorite Dimes Square denizen.

The Odeon Baseball Cap

As far as white-tablecloth New York restaurant merch goes, it’s hard to top the Tribeca staple’s baseball cap.

Bloomingdale's Little Brown Bag

Almost as iconic as the actual brown Bloomingdale’s bag.

Corner Bistro Bib

Just because they’re too young to order a cheeseburger doesn’t mean they can’t have a Corner Bistro bib.

Mister Softee Beach Towel

So the ice-cream fiend in your life can take Mister Softee(’s face) with them to the beach.

Grand Central Oyster Bar Embroidered Cap

For the one who loves shrimp cocktail.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Bandana

For the one who loves ribs.

Sardi's Umbrella

Stay dry in the rain with this umbrella from the 92-year-old Theater District spot.

Mission Chinese Food Metal Logo Black Beanie

A beanie for the Danny Bowien devotee on your list.

John's of Bleecker Street Short Sleeve T-Shirt

And a T-shirt for the pizza fanatic. (Joe’s Pizza on Carmine Street has T-shirts, too, but for those you’ll have to stop by the shop to pick one up.)

Di Fara Classic Neapolitan Pizza

Or, if you’d rather cut to the chase, gift them an order of pizza from Di Fara — “the Holy Grail of classic New York–style pizza” — and save them the trek to Midwood.

Tom's Restaurant T-Shirt

If the Seinfeld superfan on your list doesn’t already have a Tom’s T-shirt, you couldn’t go wrong with this superfan souvenir.

Junior's Coffee Mug

Some Junior’s mugs to go with that cheesecake you can order online, boasting the generous tagline, “All you want, as you want it.”

Diner Whale Tote

A slightly more modern classic, from Williamsburg favorite Diner.

Katz's Delicatessen Storefront T-Shirt

Pastrami on rye not included (though you could, in fact, buy them some pastrami — Katz’s ships).

Schaller & Weber Beanie

A hat to keep you warm from the old-school Yorkville purveyor of German meats.

Russ & Daughters Children's Logo T-Shirt

This sweet Russ & Daughters kids’ T-shirt has gift-for-a-grandchild written all over it.

Dean & Deluca Natural Burlap Tote

If we fully dove into the trove of NYC merch available on eBay, this list would be much, much longer — but we’d be remiss if we left off this tote from the recently and dearly departed Dean & Deluca. There are only five available, so hop to it.

Pearl River Mart Mug

Affordable Asian home-goods store Pearl River Mart seemed like it was going the way of Dean & Deluca and Barneys about three years ago — but fortunately reopened in Tribeca in 2016. All the more reason to gift this cheery-red mug from the store.

Dave's New York Kids Logo Crewneck Sweatshirt

A Dave’s New York sweatshirt for the coolest kid you know (and we’ll take one for ourselves in XL).

C.O. Bigelow Signature Baseball Cap

The oldest apothecary in America, which happens to be in the West Village, recently launched their own merch, and we’re into this fairly discreet black baseball cap.

Juilliard Tiny Penguin T-Shirt

A cute T-shirt for your piano-prodigy niece.

St. Bernard’s P.E. T-Shirt

A T-shirt from the St. Bernard’s School’s “Old Boys Store,” where you can also buy a mouse pad and a beer stein.

Bronx Science Women's Classic White T-Shirt

An official Bronx Science tee for the alum (or wannabe alum).

Photo: Courtesy of vendor
TWA Trouser Sock

The perfect gift for the Saarinen enthusiast (or general airport-lounge enthusiast) on your list.

New York Transit Museum Store Subway T-Shirt

The New York Transit Museum shop’s iconic shirts, for the G train (or M, or Q, or any of the city’s 27 lines) loyalist.

New York Times Store Local Edition Baseball Cap

And a hat for all borough loyalties (it comes in Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, as well).

New York Transit Museum Store Metro-North Railroad Oven Mitt

For the upstate or Connecticut commuter, an oven mitt from the Transit Museum’s new “MNR Hot Stuff” collection.

Staten Island Ferry Logo Tee

For the Staten Island commuters, or the person who takes the ferry there and back just for the views.

NYC City Store NYPD Traffic Cop Overcoat

Your dog may not be able to direct traffic, but this neon coat seems weirdly practical for nighttime walks.

Only NY NYC Parks Champion® T-Shirt

For the friend who’s always inviting you to a picnic in Prospect Park, a T-shirt from Only NY’s collab with the city’s Parks and Rec Department (a portion of the proceeds goes to the City of New York).