The Upper Rust

Neighborhood: East Village
Type of Place: Antiques/Crafts Vintage/Eclectic

I am behind on the holidays. My cards are not yet in the mail; not all my gifts are wrapped, and I keep thinking of more gifts that I need. Work has been a bit nutty; life has been a bit more so. But this time of year is so beautiful, and its sentiments so precious, that I refuse not to enjoy it and embrace its celebrations.

If you can relate to any of this, then you, too, might love the Upper Rust. The housewares and gift items here are new and vintage; what ties them together is elegance and the sense that they are something very special. And indeed, the store itself feels special—small and pretty, tucked away like a happy secret. I went out looking for a place to recommend for last-minute gifts, and the Upper Rust will surely help you out in that respect. From stocking stuffers to larger gifts, these pieces will stand out—while the shop itself is so pleasant that it might relax the tensest holiday shoulders.

Ornaments, of course, make a great gift for any Christmas, and the selection here is gorgeous. Metallic thread orbs in silver, gold, red, or bronze are $2; "mercury glass" hearts in red or silver are $12 (the term comes from a time when they were made with real mercury); a charming dachsund-shaped ornament made out of recycled paper is $15; vintage glass ornaments in various shapes are $6; and woven French ribbon hanging bows are $5 (and absolutely beautiful).

A vintage white enamel pitcher is $38 (a red bow around the handle and you're done); vintage mason jars are $12 (add peppermints and voila!). Votives decorated with bright poinsettas and orioles are $12.50, candles with the same prints $22.50. Botanica soap with sweet poinsetta packaging is $14 and smells delish. Framed prints—mostly historic reproductions—hung on ribbons, from an artist in San Francisco, are $35. My favorite was an original from the artist reading Peace, Love, Happiness, Prosperity, Kindness, Grace, Compassion. Reading it feels like a blessing for the new year—or indeed for any time.

I left the shop considerably more peaceful than I'd felt when entering—as you will too when you discover here the perfect somethings for the last 6 people on your list. And looking ahead, it's very clear: A shop like this will be spectacular come Valentines Day.

Happy new year!
  - Pamela Grossman; Dec 22, 2011

The Upper Rust
445 East 9th St (nr Ave A)
New York, NY 10009
(212) 533-3953