By Lisa Fogarty
Whether you choose to call it a recession, mini
depression, economic downturn or financial fiasco,
there’s really only one word that truly
describes the current state of most of our wallets:
So maybe we won’t be able to purchase
our loved ones that HD television set they truly
deserve, but that certainly doesn’t mean
there aren’t bargains and steals out there
that will help keep our pockets a little heavier
and our spirits a little lighter.
Here is a list of some economically-safe and
smart store choices right here in Queens.
40-03 Bell Blvd.
Don’t let the high-priced paintings and
china intimidate you. If you take your time
and scour through this quaint home goods shop,
you’ll be delighted to find that you don’t
always have to sacrifice quality for price.
Crystal giftware, tableware and decorative accessories
– some priced as low as $5 – dot
the room. My favorite: porcelain teacups and
milk servers ($15-$20) by Andrea by Sadek –
sketched with a precious strawberry pattern
– the perfect compliment to any Christmas
The Shops At Atlas Park
This is my top shop choice for great stocking
stuffers – all under $50. Choose among
gifts such as adorable Reindeer Wine Goblets
($44.95 for 4), Hand Painted Bottle Stoppers
($12.95), Hot Cocoa Mugs and Mixes ($9.95-$10.95),
a solid colored Pashmina ($25), and scented
soap gift sets ($29.95). And for the sweetest
person on your guest list, Blue Tulip stocks
an entire shelf of the Barefoot Contessa’s
Outrageous Brownie Mix and Chocolate Chunk Cookie
48-09 Bell Blvd.
If you consider yourself a lover of music, you
must – must – make a pilgrimage
to this gem. True, this shop resembles the bedroom
of a teenage boy’s dream – with
piles of records on the ground and bins of 45s
in random order (bet Barbra Streisand never
thought she’d come after REO Speedwagon).
But the versatile selection of used CDs and
vinyl, which include rock, classical, hip-hop,
jazz, cabaret, and children’s, make it
well worth the trip. Where else in Queens will
you find a copy of Mickey Mouse Disco for $4.99?
Queens Center Mall
Girl falls in love with vampire. Vampire falls
in love with girl and tries his best not to
kill her. Doesn’t sound very festive,
does it? Well, chances are, your teenager disagrees.
“Twilight,” the wildly popular Stephenie
Meyer book series and now box-office smash,
has inspired scores of young girls to don black
capes and fake fangs. Hot Topic is ground zero
for “Twilight” merchandise such
as a “Twilight” over-the-shoulder
book bag ($20), T-shirts ($20), the “Twilight”
movie soundtrack ($10), gothic jewelry inspired
by the book’s characters (around $20),
and enough posters and memorabilia to cover
her bedroom walls.
Queens Center Mall
Why does it seem like most inexpensive women’s
clothing shops stock outfits that could get
you arrested in many states? If you are a young
woman, or know a young woman, who wants to be
stylish and dressed, Charlotte Russe is a great
option. You won’t find name brands here
and I would steer clear of knit sweaters, which,
when not made very well, tend to be the first
items in your wardrobe to unravel. But there
are few places where you’ll find a brown
and ivory plaid polyester and wool trench coat
for $49.97, great-fitting boot-leg and slim-fit
jeans (after searching in pricier stores, I
found the perfect grey jean here) for around
$29.95 and 100 percent cotton tops for just
$10. Shop here on Black Friday and get 25 percent
off on every item in the store.
37-46 74th St.
While many items at this traditional Indian
store have mind-boggling price tags –
particularly the well-made carved wooden furniture
and musical instruments – the shop’s
books, magazines, audio tapes, incense and statues
make great spiritual gifts.