Preparing to tackle your holiday shopping this weekend? Here are seven Harlem spots where you're sure to find loads of irresistible gifts. From south to north, they are:
1. Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market
52 W 116th St between Fifth and Lenox Aves
Lined with vendors selling goods from all across sub-Saharan Africa, this lively market on 116th Street is the perfect destination for gifts like shea butter, beaded jewelry, and colorful Senegalese baskets (about $35 for a medium size).
300 W 116th St between Frederick Douglass Blvd and Manhattan Ave
Silvana's bohemian ground-floor cafe on 116th Street doubles as a shop and stocks gifts the two owners–one from Israel, the other from Burkina Faso–have picked up in places near and far. Think bottle openers from Zanzibar next to natural soaps in scents like lemongrass.
191 Lenox between W 119th and W 120th Sts
This colorful gift store offers a little bit of everything–from stylish coffee table books to luxury candles–with a strong focus on locally-made items. "Harlem State of Mind" candle from The 125 Collection, anyone?
4. Harlem Underground
•2219 Frederick Douglass Blvd between W 119th and W 120th Sts
•20 E 125th St between Madison and Fifth Aves
Grab a graphic Harlem-themed tee or two designed at this friendly shop with a couple of locations in the neighborhood. There are endless styles to choose from, and each comes in a range of colors and sizes for both men, women and children.
5. Serengeti Teas & Spices
22 E 125th St between Madison and Fifth Aves
This oasis on 125th Street has now fully absorbed its sister tea shop that shuttered last year on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Sip on a freshly-brewed African tea or infusion while browsing the exquisitely packaged tea blends, hot chocolates, honeys and more.
6. The Schomburg Shop
515 Malcolm X Blvd and W 135th St
The sunny, modern shop at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture finally has a dedicated website. But the in-store selection is still a truly amazing place to find books and gifts related to the black experience, from Radical Dreams' clever lapel pins depicting modern-day icons like Michelle Obama to reproductions of "The Negro Motorist Green-Book," a guide for African-Americans traveling through the segregated United States.
7. Harlem Chocolate Factory
2363 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd between W 138th and W 139th Sts
Resembling an elegant Strivers' Row parlor, this two-year-old chocolate shop specializes in color-splashed truffles with evocative names like First Nite on Lenox (a mix of smoked peach jam, hazelnut praline and caramel) and pre-packaged treats including chocolate bark dotted with potato chips and pretzels as well as tubs of rich chocolate sauce fortified with bourbon.
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