Truly Gifted

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This holiday season, solidify your reputation as being truly gifted when it comes to choosing the perfect present for everyone on your list. From the celluloidâ­ˆ’obsessed friend to the luxury−loving aunt, we’ve scoured Queens to bring you the best gifts at reasonable prices. You’ll be such a hit that you might find even more friends on your holiday shopping list next year. Don’t say we didn’t warn you if you experience a sudden surge in popularity.

For the Cinephile

We all know one, that hopeless devotee of the silver screen who’d rather spend the day watching a movie than do, well, just about anything else. The cinephile’s native habitat is the dark confines of a movie theater and favorite food is likely popcorn with a side of Junior Mints.

For the movie lover on your list, give them a book of five movie tickets to Kew Gardens Cinemas, an art−house theater located at 81−05 Lefferts Blvd. in Kew Gardens, for the discounted price of $42.50, a $5 savings over tickets purchased separately. The concession stand at the beautifully restored Art Deco theater, constructed in the 1930s, sells treats such as Chock Full o’Nuts coffee, hot chocolate with whipped cream, and freshly baked cookies.

The cinema also sells single discounted tickets for senior citizens, which, at $6.50 each, make a great gift for your film−loving grandparent or favorite aunt.

Andrew Elgart, manager of Kew Gardens Cinemas, said this gift is ideal for “anyone that lives in the neighborhood and is into art films. It’s really for the art folk, not the commercial junkies.”

For more information, visit

For the Spa Sojourner

Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a trip to the spa, the ultimate in pampering and relaxation? With the economy in turmoil, a trip to Ascend Day Spa, located at 82−60 Austin Street in Kew Gardens, serves as a soothing substitute to a pricier getaway, said owner Tara Lendener.

“With the way that the economy is going, not everyone can afford to take a vacation anymore,” she said. “You come here for three hours, and it’s like a mini−vac­ation.”

One of Ascend’s most popular gift packages combines a spa manicure and pedicure with a one−hour deep pore cleansing facial and a one−hour Swedish massage for $180, which is good for three−an­d−a−half hours of services.

For the man in need of a little upkeep, Ascend offers a Gentleman’s Organic Retreat Facial ($75) and a sport manicure and pedicure package ($30).

“Men just don’t take care of their skin at all, and with the facial hair, it’s really necessary,” said Lendener.

Ascend, which was recently renovated and expanded, contains a spa suite comprised of two adjoining rooms with a private bathroom and a rainfall steam shower, which is ideal for couples of any kind, including friends and mother−daughter duos, to plan their own private escape, said Lendener.

For the Pampered Princess or Prince

For the aspiring fashionista or young Dapper Dan on your list, head to Forest Hills’ Piccolo Mondo, located at 71−21 Austin St., for the finest in European kids’ couture and footwear for newborns to teens.

This high−end boutique specializes in such coveted fashion labels as Diesel, Dolce & Gabbana, Miss Sixty, Giorgio Armani, Burberry and Roberto Cavalli for, yes, children and teens.

Owners Haim and Nana Hayon attend children’s couture shows in Italy twice a year and interpret the collections and accompanying accessories for their discerning client base.

A gift from Piccolo Mondo is ideal for “people who have a passion for fashion,” said Haim Hayon. “If you get a gift here, it’s a unique gift — no one else will have it.”

Buy the budding Imelda Marcos fashionable and functional Diesel white fur−lined snow boots ($140). For more festive occasions, Simonetta’s silver sparkle leather Mary Janes adorned with a rhinestone brooch ($140) are sure to make a statement.

Boys will be stylish and snuggly in Dolce & Gabbana’s wool hat ($35) and matching scarf ($65). Junior style setters will stand out in a crowd in Diesel’s neon orange coated canvas coat with olive fleece lining ($150).

For more information, visit

For the Sweet−Craving Foodie

Connoisseurs of authentic Greek desserts flock to Artopolis Bakery Patisserie, an emporium of pastries, cakes, pies, assorted breads and Greek specialties, located in Agora Plaza at 23−18 31st St. in Astoria. This shrine to all things Greek — all store fixtures and ingredients used are imported from Greece—specializes in producing flavorful treats so beautiful they could be mistaken for works of art.

For the food lover on your list, a gift basket from Artopolis filled with assorted cookies and pastries, such as melomakarona, spice cookies soaked in a honey−based syrup, and mini baklava, paired with a sweet dessert wine, makes the perfect present, said co−owner Regina Katopodis.

Gift baskets can be customized with anything in the store, including cookbooks, coffee, chocolate chip cookies and olive oil, and range in price from $20 to $500. Orders should be placed at least two weeks in advance, and can be shipped anywhere in the United States.

“Whatever you want to spend,” said Katopodis. “(We) will work within a customer’s budget.”

Pies and cakes from Artopolis, which start at $25, make the perfect gift for your hostess if you’re visiting friends or relatives this holiday season.

For more information, visit

For the Pet Who Has Everything

What do you get the pampered pooch or coddled canine on your list? If you stop by The Jumping Bulldog, located 28−10 23rd Ave. in Astoria, the answer may be anything from a retro−influenced, pleather−covered carrying case equipped with two stainless steel bowls ($18−32) to a micro−suede hooded coat lined with polar fleece ($21.99) for your canine companion.

The boutique sells a wide range of clothing, toys, jewelry and treats for spoiled pets and their human counterparts. For the holidays, dress your pooch in a light−up Christmas sweater ($18−$28), or add a touch of cheer with a bandana ($8.99−$14.99). Cats will delight in finding small mice toys ($4.99), complete with feathers, in their stockings.

Owner Tanja Firrigno recommends Simply Fido organic velour toys that are made using 100 percent organic dyes in cute animal shapes ($13−$22) as a great holiday gift for dogs, or even humans.

“They’re so popular that I had a lot of mothers and fathers come in to buy them for their own children,” she said.

For pet lovers, The Jumping Bulldog sells everything from pet−oriented travel accessories ($70 for a wheeled−carry on backpack) and ceramic kissing dog salt−and−pepper shakers ($19.99) to sterling silver plated jewelry ($24.99 and up).

Want to pay your pet the ultimate tribute? Book an individual portrait session for $75 with Astoria photographer and pet groomer Charlie Jarrett, and have the photos made into a customized calendar for an additional fee.

For more information, visit

Posted 6:37 pm, October 10, 2011
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