FOUNTAIN PEN HOSPITAL
• The folks working there pointed me to a beautiful limited-edition Graf von Faber-Castell fountain pen ($2,500).
• Naturally, I was also drawn to the $30 Kaligraffiti Splatter pen.
NEW YORK VINTNERS
• I asked director of sales Jesse Warner-Levine to choose a bottle, based on what he would want as a gift. He got all politic, selecting an inexpensive wine, which I called bullshit on. So he admitted that he’d love this Hermitage Syrah ($199).
CHURCH STREET SCHOOL
• A wonderful $5 tote. The design is also sold on T-shirts.
• Korin is known for its exquisite knives, of course, but it also has fun stuff like this two-tier pig bento box ($20); available in frog, too.
• Soap on a rope ($40) would make a great houseguest gift for the right host…. Can’t you see it in an outdoor shower?
• Skip Hop’s penguin lunch bag is just $13.
• Chic toy cars designed by Patrick Calello (from $14).
• Would it be wrong for an adult to have a towel like these? The shark one ($37) would make a vivid impression at the pool where I swim.
• You can’t go wrong with Elmore Leonard ($27).
• Giles Brandreth’s latest mystery with Oscar Wilde as a sleuth also appeal, not least because it’s still only a U.K. import ($48).
BARNES & NOBLE TRIBECA
• Maira Kalman’s new book ($30), And the Pursuit of Happiness.
• Title aside, David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet ($26) was the best novel I’ve read in years.
• Harold McGee, the scientist whom cooks love, also has a new book ($35) that B&N is pushing hard.
• Honorable mentions: Keith Richards’ memoir, Life; The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1.; the reissue of Diana Vreeland’s Allure.
BED BATH & BEYOND
• I’m not really a BB&B person—the smell they pipe in gives me hives—but I was heartened to see this jumbo collection of Mad Libs ($7). It’s still the best way to teach kids (and adults) the different parts of speech, as well as a super time-killer.
• Who knew? BB&B has more travel-size stuff than I have ever seen in one place. This is only part of it! Great stocking-stuffer potential.
• The cycling studio sells clothes such as stylish tanks with skulls bedazzled on them. (I couldn’t shoot one because the PR rep has to approve photography.) And you get a cool metallic silver tote that has “SoulCycle” all over it just for buying something. Bonus gift!
• Designer Yafit Goldfarb directed me to these pretty wire bracelets—they’re not rigid—with Swarovski crystals; they start at six for $96 (gold ones cost a bit more).
• A gorgeous necklace of wire loops ($147).
• Circular alpaca-and-acrylic scarves ($49 each).
• Spiritual Gangster’s unisex hoodie ($55); the brand’s name is on the back. “The company is based in L.A.,” said the clerk. “Obviously.”
• Looking at these toys made me wonder if Toy Story 4 would be a horror film about dog toys that—unlike the kids’ ones in the previous films—dread being played with. The blue one, Salsa ($16), could be a breakout star.
• A ball with a bear covering ($7). It’s made by Grriggles, which is fun to say.