Monday, February 08, 2016

7 Days to Valentine's Day - A few ideas to get you started..

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and you’re probably thinking about what to get that special someone in your life for this most romantic day of the year. Harlem’s many boutiques and gift shops, including museum gift shops, offer an array of treasures that will surely bring a smile to both your and your loved one’s face. Below is a list of some neighborhood gems and their featured wares.

What would Valentine’s Day be without flowers? Harlem’s premier florist, La Fleur d’Harlem, will be open all day Saturday and Sunday February 13 and 14 for those looking for the traditional
dozen red roses for their sweetheart, or for one of owner Louis Gagliano’s creative custom arrangements. You can get the time-honored dozen long-stemmed beauties (or “two dozen,” says Gagliano), or have your roses arranged in a round bouquet. If you want, he’ll also make up one of his special floral “sculptures” using two types of orchids on a dogwood frame. Tell him what you need, and he’ll try to help. “People use us as consultants,” he says. “They tell us their stories, and want us to give them something that will help their relationship.” At 203 W. 144th St., (646) 850-5973.

The handcrafted, artisanal delights of the Harlem Chocolate Factory will be on sale at a special “Made with LOVE” Valentine’s Day pop-up on Saturday, Feb. 13, from noon to 4 p.m. at Vivrant Beauty, along with the creations of a local jewelry maker and other Harlem artisans. And, of course, Vivrant’s own selection of skincare, hair care and cosmetic products are available too. At 220 St. Nicholas Ave. (at 121st St.) (212) 865-0100.

There’s a Chocolate Day Lecture at the historic Morris Jumel Mansion, on Saturday, Feb. 13, from 2 to 4 p.m., where you can learn more about the food you love the most! MJM Executive Director Carol Ward and Assistant Curator Kelsey Brow will discuss all things chocolate, from the history of its consumption to the ways and means of the chocolate pot. Tastings, of course, will be included. At 65 Jumel Terrace, (212) 923-8008.
Admission: $30, $25 for members. Advanced registration is required.

The Museum of the City of New York’s Gift Shop, in the museum is a Valentine’s Day treasure of love, with bargain gifts ranging from a Floating Hearts Note Card Set for $11.95 and a Guide to New York’s Most Romantic Spots for $24.95, to higher-end handmade jewelry from New York designers like a pair of Double Heart Clip Earrings, signed by the artist in 24-karat green gold over silver alloy for $540. At 1220 Fifth Ave. (at 103rd St.) (212) 534-1672.

At the Gift Shop of The Studio Museum in Harlem,
you’ll find attractive items at reasonable prices such as a trademark Studio Museum Umbrella for $9.99, T-shirts and mugs inscribed with the truism “Black is Beautiful” (T-shirts $25, mugs $12 )and a colorful Stanley Whitney Pocket Tote Bag for $25. At 144 W. 125th St. (212) 864-4500.

For that stylish special someone, a chapeau from Flamekeepers Hat Club, might be just the ticket. This unique boutique sources its hats and caps from designers all over the world, and also design its own. Most of their wares are sold to men, but owner Mark Williamson points out that “30 percent of our clientele are women.” Caps start at $45 and hats at $85. At 273 W.121st St., (212) 531-3542.


At Nilu, a small but welcoming space that’s a community favorite, you will find simple but creative items from local artisans and designers. The shelves display chic designs alongside homey items, with offerings that include decorated scarves, unique jewelry, purses and totes, and stylish shirts, dresses, sweaters, hats and shoes that will dazzle your special lady. There’s also an assortment of scented candles and some original paintings. At 191 Lenox Ave. (at 120th St.) (917) 806-8635. 

Dress your man up and put a smile on his face with items from Harlem Haberdashery, an upscale men’s clothing store that offers stylish clothing, shoes, hats, and other accessories from the exclusive 5001 Flavors brand popular among celebrities and sports figures. Each piece combines the distinctive style of fashion from the Harlem Renaissance era with the latest, cutting-edge trends in fashion today. The products are designed in the store’s Harlem facility and are not available anywhere else in the world. At 245 Lenox Ave. (bet. 122nd and 123rd St.) (646) 707-0070.

Appealing skin and hair care products for men and women with the most luscious scents imaginable at Carol's Daughter, founded in 1993 by Lisa Price and named for her mother.
Tantalizing scents include Almond Cookie, Black Vanilla, Monoi, Ectasy, and Ocean found in body lotions, colognes and shower gels with prices ranging from $8-$32. Or try some of the limited edition items like Vanilla Truffle Body Cream and the Lavender and Vanilla Body Cream both for $29. At 24 W. 125th St., (212) 828-6567.

Alison Martin, Contributor
Harlem One Stop/Beat on the Street 

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