5 Housewarming Gifts Every New Yorker Will Love

We moved into our new apartment this past fall.  The packing/moving process was a little…stressful, to say the least.  The hubs and I were amazed at how much random stuff we had accumulated in our 3 years at our last place.  We both hate clutter and consider ourselves pretty minimalistic people by nature, so it was shocking to us how much stuff we had to weed through and do the whole “take/donate/give away/throw away” piles. Let’s just say it took a lot more time that either of us had anticipated.  Womp womp.

That being said, we had a pretty strict mindset going into the new place of not bringing anything into the home that we didn’t REALLY intend to use, since that’s how things tend to spiral out of control pretty quickly.  We made a huge deal of “no house warming gifts!” to our families, but of course, got a few things anyway;-)

In case any of you guys are moving or in need of a gift for friends who are, here’s our list of housewarming gifts that will be warmly welcomed and, get this, actually happily used!

1. Fancy Hand Soap and Lotion

My friend Natalie surprised us with Jo Malone soap and lotion, and I quickly became obsessed!  This stuff smells amazing, and really makes the act of washing your hands a little luxury.  The company also does a fabulous job of gift boxing, free of charge, and includes 2 free perfume samples with each order.

2. Artisanal Coffee or Tea

I don’t know a single New Yorker who doesn’t indulge in their daily cup(s) of coffee or tea, so this is surely a gift that will be quickly used up!  Bonus points from getting it from your favorite local coffee/tea house!

3. Candles

If I’m home for more than an hour at a time, I have a candle burning.  Having a very sensitive nose, I’m kinda obsessed with good smells;-)  They get cycled through pretty quickly, so it’s always nice to have a reserve.

4. (Knock Knock Bathroom) Guest Book

Ok, I know this sounds SUPER cheesy, but hear me out.  My parents have a guest book in their spare bedroom, and it’s such a delight going back and reading all the entries from family and friends who have spent time their over the years.  While New Yorkers don’t exactly have guest bedrooms, per say, your guests always pop into your bathroom, right?!  There’s also couch guest books and dinner party guest books, in case you can’t wrap your head around people doodling on your pot;-)

5. Top-Notch Olive Oil

This is something I would never ever splurge on myself, truth be told, I get the generic “Fresh Direct” brand every time.  But it’s something that will most definitely be used, and what a treat to be able to taste something of great quality!

Would love to know…what’s the best house warming gift you’ve ever received or gave?

Photo Credit: 1




20at20 + Giveaway

This contest has officially ended. A huge New York thank you to all who participated, and congrats to our winner, Nicholas! Stay tuned for more exciting UsedYorkCity.com giveaways!

Theater lovers!  It’s that time of year again…yep!  Get your dose of the best of Off-Broadway for only $20 a ticket!  That’s, like, SO much theater for just a wee more than you’d pay for a Manhattan movie ticket!  And the best part is: we’re giving away a voucher for a pair of tickets that you can use for any show you want!  Here’s all the info:

20at20 is a bi-annual celebration of NY’s best shows!  Beginning Tuesday, January 20th and ending Sunday, February 8th, Off-Broadway shows will offer seats still available twenty minutes before the curtain, for only $20 when purchased at the box office (cash only at some venues; some restrictions may apply).  Here is your chance to catch up with shows you may have missed, get a sneak peek at the next hit, or revisit a favorite – all for only $20!  And since Off-Broadway has performances to fit everyone’s schedule, you can see more than one! Where else can you see five shows in a day, for less than the price of ONE BROADWAY TICKET?!

For more info on 20at20 and participating shows, visit www.20at20.com.

One UYC winner will receive tickets to TWO SHOWS of their choice!  The winner can choose any two shows from the list of participants and will receive a pair of tickets to each show chosen (subject to availability).

Here’s how to enter:

1. Subscribe to Used York City, getting the best picks of NYC delivered straight to your inbox.  (Don’t forget to respond to the verification message you are sent via email.  Former subscribers are automatically entered!)

2. Leave a comment below telling us what show you’re excited to see!


The contest will run until Monday, January 19that which time a winner will be randomly chosen and announced on this post and via Twitter, and the winner will be notified directly by the email address that they subscribed with!  Best of luck to all our readers!




Staycation In A Glass At Haru!

Anyone else struggling with this weather just a teensy tiny bit?  Winter in NYC just seems to drag post holidays, and I can personally attest to needing a bit of a pep talk in order to leave the apartment, cause that cold that seeps into your bones is just no fun.

When I heard about Haru’s new staycation in a glass cocktails, my interest was piqued.  I gave myself a bit of cheerleading “come on Jess, just a few more layers, 19 degrees is really not all that awful, think of the Canadians!  they do this every day!”, bundled up, and headed to their Times Square location to test them out.

Cue the sunshine!

Haru’s limited-time cocktails, channeling warm weather and beaches all around, surely do a wonderful job of warming you up from the inside out.

The Cucumber Gimlet is Haru’s twist on the traditional cocktail, and really speaks to New Year’s purity and lightness with a combination of muddled fresh cucumber, lime and cilantro shaken with homemade simple syrup and the 34-times-distilled Purity vodka.

unnamedI’m a gal who enjoys her drinks on the sweeter side, so the Passion Fruit & Lychee Saketini, made with Don Q Pasión rum with nigori sake, lychee purée, homemade simple syrup and pineapple juice, was pure summer in a glass.

unnamed-1Both cocktails are perfectly paired with Haru’s seasonal menu offerings including Chicken Dumplings, Crispy Halibut with Fresh Winter Mix and the Black Forest Roll. The Chicken Dumplings appetizer are pan-fried and accompanied by Haru’s signature dumpling sauce. The Crispy Halibut with Fresh Winter Mix is a Japanese take on fish and chips—minus the chips for a more New Year’s resolution-friendly entrée. Instead, you’ll find a winter salad of snow peas, carrots and jicama lightly tossed with lemon dressing. On the sushi side, the elegant Black Forest Roll includes smoked salmon, black tobiko (caviar), cucumber, freshwater eel and torched cream cheese.

unnamed-4unnamed-3And for you vegetarians, I’d absolutely recommend the green peppers with lime and sea salt as an accompaniment to your bevvys.

All seasonal items are available through the month of March, which is pretty perfect considering it isn’t until April in these parts that we can finally think of shedding our down and wool coats for trenches.  Until then, you’ll find me at Haru’s bar, saketini in hand.

p.s. for those of you not in the NYC area, (or you New Yorkers who can’t seem to pep yourself up to leave the house, no judgement!), we were able to score Haru’s top secret recipe for the saketini I love so much!  Bottoms up, my friends!

Passion Fruit & Lychee Saketini


1.5 oz.   Don Q Pasión Rum

.5  ea.    Nigori Sake

1   oz.     Lychee Puree

½  oz.     Simple syrup

½  oz.     Pineapple Juice                         


*Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass.

*Add ice and shake vigorously for 8-10 seconds.              

*Strain into a chilled martini glass.

*Garnish with Lychee fruit.




UsedYorkCity Inspiration #16 + Giveaway

unnamed-7^^Coffeeshop art + exposed brick in Hell’s Kitchen^^

1. Love this collection of informal venues in NYC to listen to classical music. (via NY Magazine) p.s. we have free tickets to give away to Carnegie Hall performances this Sunday (MISATANGO: An Argentinean Tango Mass) and Monday (THE MUSIC OF KARL JENKINS).  Shoot us an email info@usedyorkcity.com if you’d like a pair!

2. Beautiful vintage photos from NYC commuters during their subway travels in 1966. (via Business Insider)

3. Anyone else think the 2013 version of Annie was the cutest thing EVER? Here’s more Broadway musicals that have been brought to the screen. (via Tracy’s New York Life)

4. Love, love, LOVE this list of free and cheap yoga in NYC. (via Cheap In The City)

5. Doing research for my NYC-themed book club, and came across this list of books that tell you everything you need to know about New York.  Guess we better get to reading, eh? (via Flavorwire)

What’s been inspiring you this week?  Share below!






Brod Kitchen Brings Nordic Noshing To The UES


Nordic countries have a pretty notorious reputation for their tolerance, equality, phenomenal education and healthcare systems, and overall happiness.  I’ll let you in on a little secret…their food is top-notch, too.  And the best part is you don’t even have to jump on a plane to experience it!

Located on the Upper East Side, Brod Kitchen is a Nordic inspired restaurant that merges together seasonal, super healthy ingredients with tastebud titillating flavors. None of that twigs-and-leaves business that we may think of when we visualize Nordic cuisine, but substantial, filling dishes that won’t leave you hungry in an hour.

Seriously, have a peek at my sandwich.  The on-location baked focaccia, warm right from the oven, topped with the freshest burrata you’ll find this side of Italy, juicy figs, and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette to tie it all together. Perfection, people!

L1010851Brod’s signature dish is the Smørrebrød- the open faced rye sandwich piled high with everything from speck, roasted beets, egg salad, smoked Norwegian salmon and avocados.  But the extra special part is this: while there’s certainly no lack of meat dishes to choose from, Brod also has tons of options for vegetarians.  A Smørrebrød of cherry tomatoes, balsamic and creme fraiche tickle your fancy?  How about pear and camembert?

L1010865 L1010856 L1010848 L1010852I thought so.

And don’t forget to grab a dessert on your way out.  If sticking with the Smørrebrød option, I recommend trying creme fraiche, honey, hazelnut and rosemary or Nocciolata, fig, hazelnut and mint.  As you can see, though, there’s tons of bakery items to choose from to satisfy your sweet tooth…their cheesecake was a personal favorite of mine.

L1010857 L1010869Another little plus about this place: set up with a market-style vibe, you can easily pop in and grab a few sides and mains for a healthy meal at home.  And with their freshly made bread, you’ll be all set for breakfast, too!  I’m already planning a Nordic themed dinner party, with a little okay a lot of help from Brod.

We may still be a bit behind in reforming our school and healthcare systems to those of the Nordic standards, but with Brod’s opening I’ve discovered an insight into the culture’s super high happiness levels: their food.