As the city lights up and shops start putting up their decorative holiday storefronts, you may react with cheer and joy or absolute panic about what you’re going to get your loved ones, friends or the dreaded co-workers you barely know. For those of you who have the latter reaction, fear not because here at Untapped Cities, we’ve curated a list of holiday gifts that any urban enthusiast is sure to enjoy.



1. New York: Hidden Bars & Restaurants by Michelle Young and Laura Itkowitz

NYC Hidden Bars and Restaurants Book Cover

Written by the Untapped Cities founder, Michelle Young, and  an Untapped Cities contributing editor, Laura Itkotwitz, New York: Hidden Bars & Restaurants is the ultimate guide for exploring New York’s secret food and drink gems. For a preview of the 90 locations you’ll find in the book, check out our list of the top 10 hidden bars and restaurants for 2015.

2. Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York 

The new book Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York features 47 of the 117 interior landmarks in New York City. The book is both a gorgeous coffee table book, with full-page plates of images and text, as well as a call to action as there have been new pressures on the landmark laws this year – ranging from the “decalendaring” of landmarks (successfully stopped) to Intro 775 that aims to put time limits on how long a proposed landmark can sit on the potentials list. For a sneak peak on some of the books stunning interiors, take a look at our list of the top 10.

3. Broadway by Michelle Young

Lower Broadway c. 1908-1913. Image via Library of Congress 

Throughout history, Broadway has been at the forefront of the New York city’s urban developments. It’s also been the site of many firsts and many superlatives: the first subway line in the city, the tallest buildings, and one of the longest streets in the world. Untapped Cities founder Michelle Young has compiled a photographic account of the complex history of this iconic street in her book, Broadway available on Amazon.

4. The New York Pizza Project 

The New York Pizza Project was a quest by a team to photograph over 120 of New York City’s last pizza parlors. More than a food documentation, the project was about the stories behind the pizza, covering themes, as one of the members Ian Manheimer told us, such as “coming to America and starting new, the struggles of running a family business, and keeping up with a quickly gentrifying city.” It’s now available as a coffee table book and we’ve asked Manheimer to share with us the 10 pizza joints in New York City with the biggest personality so you can preview the goods. Buy the book for a loved one and hope that they treat you to a slice of delicious pizza in return.

5. The Dakota: A History of the World’s Best-Known Apartment Building by Andrew Alpern


The Dakota: A History of the World’s Best-Known Apartment Building is a historical and architectural history, deliberately eschewing the gossip that could easily fill the pages of a book with such a name. While the book doesn’t dwell on the tabloids and celebrity gossip that’s occurred in this famous building, it’s well-targeted for our reader. We’ve compiled a list of the Dakota Apartments top 10 secrets so you can preview more of the architectural juicy secrets from the book.

6. The Wonder City Graphic Novel by Justin Rivers

In the comic book series, The Wonder City, author Justin Rivers (tour guide for our popular Remnants of Penn Station tour) and illustrator Courtney Zell, ask the question: where does the myth end and the real history begins? Their graphic novels, The Great Whale of Coney Island and the brand new The Tovernboak, re-imagine the entirety of New York City’s vast 400-year-old history with a mystery buried in the heart of the city. The Tovernboak was released last night at the Floyd in Brooklyn.

7. Abandoned NYC by Will Ellis


If you or loved one is a fan of our collection of abandoned New York articles, you should definitely get Will Ellis’ Abandoned NYCThe book takes you all over New York’s most abanodoned spots, providing both their history as functioning institutions and pictures of their later dispare. If you’d like to take a look at some of Will Ellis’ work, take a look at some of our collaborations here.

Arts & Crafts

8. Stiklab Stickers for Your Laptop

Coffee Cup-Cafe-Cofee Shop-Macbook Sticker-Decal-StiklabCoffee Cup Macbook Sticker by Stiklab

The New York City-based company, Stiklab has several great collections of stickers for your laptop, including the New York Collection, a fun eyeglasses, mustaches galore, and more. Unlike regular stickers, these stickers are totally removable so you can change stickers as often as you change your mood. The stickers are made of the highest quality vinyl, sourced from Germany, and all the products are made right here in New York City. The Untapped Cities staff has their own set of custom stickers, which we combine with other fun ones. See the full collection here.

9. Illustrations by Untapped Cities’ Kit Mill

In addition to illustrating the Art of Style column, Kit Mills creates small, spooky, one-of-a-kind ink drawings. Skulls, birds, and plant life are frequent subjects, rendered in black and white ink with iridescent gold highlights that catch the light and shine. One of these would be a perfect gift for a person in your life who wears a lot of black and likes to visit cemeteries. Kit is also available to do custom commissions with the skulls, plants, creatures, and whatever else of your choice.

10. The Architect Says Notebooks

The Architect Says Notebooks  are gridded notebooks feature a foil printed a food-for-thought quotes by architects Le Corbusier, R. Buckminster Fuller and Cesar Pelli, with a sewn spine.

11. NYC Subway Vintage Token Cufflinks

Remember when the subway once functioned with tokens before Metrocards? Have you ever wondered what happened to all those tokens? Well, we have and it turns out 45 out of the 60 million were melted down and turned into scrap melt. But the other 15 million surviving have been turned into unique vintage items, such as these cufflinks available on Etsy.

12. Personalized NYC Manhole Cover Welcome Mat

New York City’s manholes aren’t made in New York anymore, but this manhole cover doormat is actually made in Albany. Distributed by Brooklyn-based Uncommon Goods, the doormat can be personalized with your last name.


13. Secrets of the Eldridge Street Synagogue Tour and Holiday Party

We’re very excited for our upcoming secrets of the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue tour. Discover the hidden gems of this stunning structure’s architecture, embellishments and history on our after-hours exploration, in partnership with the Museum at Eldridge Street. As a bonus, following the behind-the-scenes tour, we’ll be celebrating the Jewish Festival of Lights. Join us for a wine reception where the Museum at Eldridge Street will provide latkes, jelly donuts and other traditional holiday goodies and light a menorah marking the fourth day of the holiday!

14. Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the Remnants of Penn Station

McKim-Mead-White-Pennsylvania-Station-NYC-Vintage-Photo On January 10th, join us on a special tour of the remnants of Penn Station with Tamara Agins, licensed tour guide, project manager at NYC Department of City Planning, and author of our popular article on the Secrets of Grand Central and Justin Rivers from the play The Eternal Space.  Weaving in never before published photographs from the play, the tour will also cover the past, present and future plans for the transportation hub, accompanying a hunt for the remaining pieces of the grand McKim, Mead & White station. Tickets can be purchased here:

15. Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Grand Central Terminal

Grand-Central-Terminal-Interior-Vintage-Untapped-Cities Did you know there is a tennis court inside Grand Central? Or that the ceiling is backwards? Untapped Cities is bringing back our popular “Secrets of Grand Central” tour led Tamara Agins from the New York City Department of City Planning and author of our popular series on the secrets of Grand Central. Join us on January 24th, 2016. Bonus: the tour ends at the Campbell Apartments, the Gilded Age office and salon of tycoon John W. Campbell, now converted into a soaring hidden bar where you can stop in for a cocktail.

16. Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the Woolworth Building

Woolworth-Building-Mezzanine-Interior-Landmark-NYC Untapped Cities is excited to offer this new, Untapped Cities-exclusive tour of the normally off-limits Woolworth Building led by architect Cass Gilbert’s great granddaughter, Helen Post Curry, who runs the Woolworth Building tours on January 23rd, 2016. In addition to a guided visit through the spectacular lobby, we will also visit the cellar level where the bank vault is located and where the former entrances to the subway are, and provide special access to the gorgeous mezzanine level. 

Food & Drink

17. Chelsea Market NYC Food Tour Gift Tower

Perfect for both New York and food lovers alike. This NYC Food Tour Gift Tower made by Chelsea Market Baskets is compiled of local New York producers items, including CMB Goin’ Nuts Maple Bacon Peanuts from Chelsea, Roni-Sue Beer Caramel Pretzel Nuggets from Brooklyn and much, much more. Be sure to take a look at the other gift baskets Chelsea Market Baskets offers here.

18. 1800® Keith Haring Silver Tequila

1800® has released unique, limited-edition decorative bottles featuring artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gary Baseman and New York’s beloved Keith Haring. It’s the perfect gift to get any holiday party started. You can purchase it at a variety of liquor stores or order it online here.

19. Canned Air from New York

canned-air-from-new-york-untappedcities-nycImage via Etsy

There’s nothing like walking down your street and getting hit in the face with a waft of New York’s signature hot trash scent. Now, you can share that experience with loved one outside of the city by giving them a “canned air” straight from the city (and some other cities too). Available for purchase on Etsy for a mere $9.99! Talk about a steal!

 20. New York Beer Cap Map

Image via Etsy

Both in and out of the city, New York is filled with micro and craft breweries. For beer buffs, this map of New York allows you to track which breweries you’ve tried. The map, shaped like New York State, can hold up to 57 beer caps. Available on Etsy.

Games & Puzzles

21. Cards Against Urbanity

cards-against-urbanity-untappedcities-nyc-gift-guide.24 PMImage via Kickstarter

Playing off the popular party game, Cards Against Humanity, Cards Against Urbanity uses the same concept only applying it to urbanite situations and problems. Some examples include “They now award LEED points for ______” and “My city’s lastest economic plan includes_______” with answers ranging from “Vespa share” to “Brad Pitt pretending to be an architect.” The best part is, you can download and print out this hilarious game for free here.

22. 4D Cityscape Time Puzzle of New York

This puzzle is a must for anyone who loves history, New York, maps or jigsaws. As you assemble this 4D puzzle of Manhattan, you create and shift the New York City Skyline as it changes over history. It comes with 132 replica models of various New York city landmarks. You can order the skyline of New York or other famous cities like London and Paris, online here. To explain how these insanely cool puzzles work, take a look at this video below:

22. New York Graffiti Puzzle

For graffiti-loving puzzlers, we’ve got just the thing for you! Just like graffiti of New York, these 300 piece puzzles zig and zag, are multi-layered and often don’t make any sense, making it difficult task for even an expert jigsaw-er. And the best part is, the puzzle comes in a spray paint can packaging! You can order one of these unique puzzles here.

12. NYC Skyline in Lego

The New York City lego set, the first of the company’s skyline series is made of 598 pieces and contains replicas of the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Flatiron Building and 1 World Trade Center. It doesn’t go to market until January 1st however…


Antique 1860 Map of New York

At Untapped Cities, we truly appreciate the value of antique maps of New York. So if anyone is willing to spend $8,984 on this 1860 pull-down map of the city and give it to us, we’d be forever grateful! It’s 15% off on Etsy so act fast!

For more gift options:

The 2014 Untapped Cities Holiday Gift Guide for NYC Urban Enthusiasts

The Untapped Cities 2013 Holiday Gift Guide for Urban Explorers

The Untapped Cities 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

The Untapped Cities 2011 Holiday Gift Guide

Top 10 Non-Fiction Books about NYC

Readers Choice: Top 10 Non-Fiction Books about NYC

17 Fiction Books Set in NYC