10 Unusual Last-Minute Gifts You’ll Find Only In Hudson
By Jamie Larson
By now the secret is out on Hudson’s shopping district. There are beautiful antiques of course, galleries of the highest caliber, and shops of all variety up and down Warren Street. But there are still more secrets to be found and bought in Hudson.
In the back of stores throughout the city there are unique items you can’t find anywhere but here. Hudson’s collectors and merchants have assembled a treasure trove of one-of- a-kind, sometimes downright strange items from the farthest corners of the globe as well as objects made only within the city limits. Here are 10 things you can buy only here — just in time for your last-minute holiday shopping. (And it’s just the tip of the wonderfully unusual iceberg that is Hudson commerce.)
1. 1920s South African painted sperm whale inner ear bone: White Whale Limited
Due to the pressure it needs to withstand in the ocean’s depths, the inner ear bone of a whale is the densest and strongest on earth. It also happens to be shaped like half a man’s head. This strange and rare piece ($475), which is painted but not carved, is an uncommon gift for the person who has everything — but this. The piece is a good ambassador for the rest of the cabinets of biological curiosities at White Whale, which sells affordable display boxes of petrified bugs, bats and lizards ($20+) alongside a real, complete human skeleton. With coffin ($1,950).
410 Warren Street
(518) 755-6439 or (518) 755-6441
Mon—Sun: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
2. “Upcycled” children’s clothes made from vintage sweaters: The Bee’s Knees
The Bee’s Knees has become a must-visit for area parents looking for the best quality children’s clothes and toys. As much as it can, the store stocks locally produced items like these — patched together from high-quality salvaged material by two Hudson moms. Prices vary ($25-50) by size; the cashmere, of course, hangs at the higher end.
302 Warren Street
Mon, Wed and Thurs: 11a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fri and Sat: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday: noon to 4 p.m.
3. Vietnamese snake skin thap tam: Musica
Musica is a toy store for the musically inclined in your life and perfect for holiday shopping; it offers stocking stuffers like mouth harps alongside larger gifts like high-end amps and guitars. There are also less familiar world instruments like the thap tam ($179), which would add an ethnic music vibe to someone’s music room.
17 N 4th Street
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
4. Literary lithographs: Spotty Dog Books and Ale
For the avid reader, these attractive lithos hide the entire text of your favorite stories in the images themselves. The example shown is the entirety of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” shrunk down to create the stormy image. The pieces vary in price depending on size (starting around $20). We warn, however, not to go into the Spotty Dog if you are in a rush. The combination of well-stocked books and a great selection of beer and wine can turn a quick visit into a languid afternoon recess.
440 Warren Street
Monday—Thursday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday: noon to 6 p.m.
5. Hand-made knives forged from salvaged metal and found materials: Devil in the Woods
Ryan LaPoint’s sign-less basement shop can be hard to spot, located just down the hill from City Hall, but his unusual collection of antiques and records make finding it worth the effort. LaPoint has also become known for the unconventional knives he cuts out of old saw blades or hammers down from railroad spikes. He laboriously handcrafts each one, adding handles of reclaimed wood or found bone. If that’s not your thing, there’s probably something hiding in wait for you in the back of his deep basement shop.
518 Warren Street
6. Flowers and sauerkraut: Flowerkraut
Just because no one thought to combine a sleek modern florist shop with an artisanal sauerkraut boutique before doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. On the contrary, Flowekraut looks, smells and tastes like beautiful, understated genius. Floral arrangements, gifts and potted and pendant plants are all elegantly curated. Sauerkraut Seth’s kraut, which shares a cooler with the bouquets, ranges in flavor from kimchee to jalapeno ($6-10), is as good as it gets and makes a tasty tack-on gift for any foodie, or the person who needs one more thing under the tree.
722 Warren Street
Thursday—Monday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
7. “Dirty Earls:” John Doe Records
Prolific Hudson artist Earl Swanigan’s wonderful paintings of anthropomorphic animals fill shops and galleries throughout Hudson and have become highly appreciated and sought after. What most don’t know and what has certainly been less reported on are Swanigan’s more sexually explicit paintings. Funny, edgy, confusing and sometimes downright pornographic, these “Earls” pop up in a few places like Devil in the Woods and here at John Doe.
434 Warren Street
“Noon to 5 p.m. or later, 7 days a week or whatever.”
8. Elsa Schiaparelli cape: Hudson Vintage
Normally found only in museum collections, this elegant piece by the premier 20th-century designer could be yours for $1,800. We dare anybody to wear it (and hope we’re at the party taking photographs when it’s flaunted). This rare find is in amazing condition and would be perfect for the serious fashion collector in your life. If by chance the Schiaparelli is out of your price range or capes don’t particularly mix with your current wardrobe, Hudson Vintage has a lot more to offer in the way of clothes and jewelry.
433 Warren Street
Friday—Saturday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
9. Unusual vintage Aro-view print of Hudson: Hudson City Books
A pearl for the collection of any Hudsonofile or map lover, this 1923 Aro-view print ($450 professionally framed, $150 unframed) enhances the shelves of fascinating offerings in this timeless antiquarian bookstore. If this beauty wasn’t sweet enough on its own, maybe the fact that all proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Hudson Area Library will persuade you to make a purchase.
553 Warren Street
Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday:11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday: 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
10. Rare Indian fabrics: Handloom Batik
For anyone on your list who quilts, makes clothing or crafts with fabrics, this store is a rare and beautiful bird. It’s filled with imported fabrics from Asia, traditional block prints and silks (prices in all ranges), as well as statues, artwork and other gifts. You may need to plan your visit because the store is open only Friday through Sunday (sometimes Thursday), but if you’re looking for fabrics, Handloom has some of the finest anywhere.
532 Warren Street
Friday-Sunday: noon to 6 p.m.; sometimes Thursday.