La Sirena

La Sirena

Photo: La Sirena

Neighborhood: East Village
Type of Place: Gift Shops


One cold evening in December, I came upon La Sirena in the East Village and welcomed it as a little beacon of warmth, light, and festivity. If you're reading this piece just after its posting, you know we've already had a heck of a winter in New York, including a two-foot blizzard—and it's still only January. But all seasons, gentler or more challenging, need their share of brightness and celebration; and this shop, filled with Mexican arts, crafts, and clothing, will help provide the party accessories, gifts, and decorations you're looking for.

One of my favorite items here actually captures the spirit of Spring: a lovely flowered garland with streamers ($10) that I'm tempted to buy not only for a May Day party but for those cold, rainy, snowy, and/or icy days when flowers and sun seem far away. (OK, maybe wearing a flowered garland to work would not be practical...but then again, on the grayest days, who would really blame me?) Along these lines, there's also a sturdy flowered bag (black background with a floral print, $35) that would be perfect for the both errands and the beach. For a party, a parade, or a kids' play date, there's a great set of 8 paper masks, including a butterfly and a jaguar ($20 for the set); hand drums ($12) will add to the high spirits. Cloth dolls ($12) and puppets and figurines of various sizes and prices (I especially loved a figurine of slow-dancing cats but apparently was too busy admiring it to record the price) will make great gifts for little ones or for grown-up collectors. Cheerful tunics for girls and women are about $35; and if you want a dash of Mexican style in your home year-round, there's a great and fairly priced assortment of rugs. Jewelry makers will be interested in the appealing variety of beads; and for Christmastime, there are great ornaments, including a charming tin angel ($8).

Here in New York right now, yet more snow is predicted—and my friend's birthday party coincides with it exactly. Hmm...maybe a flowered garland is the right gift: a reminder that, to paraphrase the poet Shelley, if winter comes, spring is not far behind.
  - Pamela Grossman; Jan 10, 2011

La Sirena
27 East 3rd Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 780-9113