Art, Astoria, Long Island City, Shopping
Dec 08, 2015

Presents Hiding in Plain Sight – Shop at Local Gift Shops in Astoria and LIC

Let’s see… you’ve got your big box stores, smaller chains, and indie shops all vying for your holiday dollar$. But have you considered the little gift shops that live in museums (…)

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Let’s see… you’ve got your big box stores, smaller chains, and indie shops all vying for your holiday dollar$. But have you considered the little gift shops that live in museums and other smaller businesses in Astoria and LIC? Here are some of the best in the area that are definitely worth checking out—during and after the holidays!

THE SHOP @ BrickHouse Ceramic Art Center


Photo credit: Brickhouse Ceramic Art Center

BrickHouse Ceramic Art Center is a fantastic center for ceramics education in Long Island City. You can take classes and lessons in wheel throwing, handbuilding, and glazing, have a party there, and purchase ceramic creations at their shop:

“Need a gift for someone special? Need a handmade mug to enjoy your morning coffee? Then it’s time to visit THE SHOP @ BrickHouse where you can view and purchase ceramic artwork from our creative community of designers/makers and sculptors. When you shop at BrickHouse, you’ll find handmade, one-of-a-kind, affordable fine ceramic vases, mugs, jewelry, teapots, bowls, dishes and so much more! With work from several different clay artists there is sure to be something for everyone. Our inventory changes periodically so stop in often to see what’s new whenever you need a wonderful wedding, birthday or house-warming gift. Our artwork is not only beautiful to look at, but also made to be used and enjoyed.”

As a reminder, they are holding their annual holiday sale this weekend, December 11-13.

THE SHOP @ BrickHouse Ceramic Art Center (10-34 44th Drive, Long Island City. 718-784-4907). Website

La Rioja’s Gourmet Store


Photo credit: La Rioja

In the back of Broadway’s excellent Spanish restaurant, La Rioja, is a little store full of gourmet food items—it’s a great place for the food lover in your life and an excellent place to pick up a host/hostess gift for that holiday party you’re attending this month. They offer Spanish cured meats, seafood, and cheeses, pantry goods, snacks, olive oils, sauces, spices, and more.

And if you have time, have a seat at the bar and enjoy a glass of sangria and a tapa or two (hello, bacon-wrapped dates). You won’t regret it!

La Rioja’s Gourmet Store (33-05 Broadway, Astoria. 718-932-0101). Website



Photo credit: MoMA PS1

If art books are your bag, or if you are looking for an impressive and thought-provoking paper product, ARTBOOK is a place you need to visit:

“ARTBOOK @ MoMA PS1 is the most vibrant source for cutting-edge contemporary art books on the East Coast. Refitted as of November 2006, the store now offers an even greater selection of contemporary art titles, including MoMA PS1 exhibition-related publications (and other MoMA PS1 products), books relating to current New York shows, a large stock of monographs, theory, photography, CDs, multimedia titles, limited editions, journals, and many out-of-print titles. New publications arrive every week, reflecting current trends in the international art world.”

ARTBOOK at MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City. 718-784-2084). Website

Moving Image Store at MOMI


Photo credit: MOMI

I love browsing and shopping! at the little gift shop at MOMI, located to the left right after you enter the museum. There’s always something that catches my eye, whether it’s a book, DVD, t-shirt, or any number of various and sundry things:

“The Moving Image Store has dozens of books for everyone including cinephiles, casual movie buffs, video gamers, and students. The Store also offers a selection of DVDs, specially-designed Museum souvenirs, and gifts for children and adults.”

Moving Image Store at MOMI (36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria. 718-777-6888). Website

Noguchi Museum Shop


Photo credit: Noguchi Museum

Some of the coolest things in the Museum Shop at The Noguchi Museum are the Noguchi-designed furniture and lamps, some of which you can experience in person at the Shop. They are definitely special and unique gifts, and the Shop also carries beautiful Noguchi-oriented prints and books, among other things:

“The Noguchi Museum Shop offers the full line of Noguchi lamps and Noguchi furniture. The original Noguchi lamps offered here have been in continuous production for over fifty years. Many of the Noguchi furniture and object designs have been re-introduced with the original manufacturers along with never produced Noguchi designs. All of the of the designs offered are authorized by and support the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum.”

Noguchi Museum Shop (9-01 33rd Road, Long Island City. 718-204-7088). Website

Q.E.D Book Shop


Photo credit: Q.E.D.

It’s no secret that we love Q.E.D. here at We Heart Astoria—their comedy shows, trivia, and lectures are popular additions to the neighborhood. Another special aspect of the place is the little outpost of Astoria Bookshop spilled onto the bookshelves at Q.E.D. Kambri has stocked an excellent selection of books that focus on comedy and entertainment as well as stories and nonfiction by local Queens authors—and don’t forget to pickup a stylish Q.E.D. pint glass!

Definitely head on over and take a look and take in a show—and get yourself a QEDelight cocktail (think, Tinto de verano) while you’re at it.

Q.E.D. (27-16 23rd Avenue, Astoria. 347-451-3873). Website

SculptureCenter Bookstore


Photo credit: SculptureCenter

Just adjacent to the front desk at the SculptureCenter is a little gift shop full of books, prints, journals and magazines, show catalogs, and more. The Center’s acclaimed Limited Editions are also available for viewing and purchase. No doubt you will find something very special here for the art lover on your list.

SculptureCenter Bookstore (44-19 Purves Street, Long Island City. 718-361-1750). Website

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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