After visiting an unforgettable city, you want to leave with a keepsake you can’t find anywhere else. The MoMA Design Store, just across the street from the museum on 53rd Street, houses some of the most distinctive gifts in the whole city—many of them crafted by the very same artists MoMA displays. Just like the artwork across the way, each item has just a little bit of magic in it—only these you can take home.
Passing through the revolving door, you find yourself on an immaculate cerulean floor surrounded by futuristic, white-lit displays. Items line square islands throughout the space, with curvy shelves of glossy kitchenware and tiny sculptures and gadgets flowing around the perimeter. Above, groovy furniture is lit in huge black shadowboxes—straight from a 50s ad exec’s office, or maybe your next sky-high condo. It’s like the museum has overtaken the gift shop. And there’s no admission required.
You can’t walk past the toys without tinkering with a few. Try your luck at stacking colorful wooden kangaroos, alligators, and giraffes on a see-sawing boat. Or attempt the mind-bending Yoshimoto cube (featured in the museum’s collection), an intriguing square puzzle that unfolds into two silver and gold stars.
After indulging your inner child, head toward the back where things get even more, well, arty. Squish down into a Brillo-Pouf, a replica of Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes (also featured in MOMA’s collection)—the city’s most avant-garde chair. Gaze at the gorgeous dinner plates featuring images from Jeff Koons’s Banality sculpture series. They’re the exact kind of kitsch the artist goes gaga for. Koons and his delightfully creepy image of a bear taking a policeman’s whistle are coming home with you—and they couldn’t be happier.
You won’t need to brush up on your art history to enjoy the MoMA Design Store’s amazing jewelry selection. Drool over the mirror-polished stainless steel of the Scirocco Necklace, made by Alessi (also featured in the museum’s collection) and designed by Mario Trimarchi. It mimics playing cards swept up in a gust of wind—one of Trimarchi’s childhood memories. It’s the definition of a conversation starter, and the perfect reminder of the whimsical and unpredictable nature of the city you’ve been exploring.