The Best NYC Merch That Proves Tourist Gear Can Be Streetwear

From bagel earrings to designer Yankees gear, Big Apple-obsessed merch isn't just for the selfie-stick crowd anymore.

Aug 4 2021, 8:51pm

It’s the city so nice, they named it the Big Apple—and made a pair of pizza-rat earrings in its honor. It’s been a rough year-and-some in the city, which only made that inimitable brand of NY pride surge twice as high. When we couldn’t dine-in at Katz’s Delicatessen or Best Pizza, we supported those spots and the rest of our favorite restaurants by ordering gift cards, hyping their social media profiles, and buying merch—entire grassroots organisations were built to help carry local merchants through lockdown, such as Send Chinatown Love (also makers of some *chef’s kiss* graphic T-shirts). Is “I love NY” merch hot shit again? 


You bet it is. 

Studs, the NYC-based jewelry brand that first launched in 2019, recently announced a fresh 17-piece collection that pays homage to New York City’s finest players: bagels, coffee cups, challah, martinis, dumplings, MetroCards, and more. We’re a little bummed that there’s not a hot pile of golden garbage for our tragus piercing, but you can bet your sweet buns there’s a shiny rat for your flirtiest lobe.  

Rat Stud
Challah Charm Huggie
Gothic NY Stud

“The collection was designed in collaboration with indie jewelry brand Garbage NY,” says Studs, who also worked with the local street artist Roachi for the campaign, and is selling out already. 

Studs isn't the only brand celebrating its unabashed love of NYC. New York tourist garb is enjoying a new life as streetwear, and you know what? We’re into it. Let the haters call our unabashed, “ILY, NY '' energy cheugy. We’ll be too busy licking the scallion cream cheese off our fingers, and doing the Hustle with a Rockette on the F train to notice. 

New York, we don’t just love you. We’re obsessed with you—so here’s a short list of some Big Apple hype merch we’ll be wearing into the fall…

Neighborhood Spot

You will never find a bigger hype man for every NY player and institution than Neighborhood Spot, founded in spring of 2020 to help small businesses throughout NYC, and explains that it has “since expanded to support local organizations and a residential rent relief lottery, [with a] mission to make quality goods with all proceeds going back to help support each business or charity.” They’ve made T-shirts, totes, prints, and more in celebration of places like the Elizabeth Street Garden, and the Department of Sanitation; they’ve worked with local sign-making legends like the Cevallos Brothers, and even came out with Frank Restaurant-themed hankies

DSNY Tee Designed by Roachi
LES NYC Tee Designed by The Cevallos Brothers
Yokkoyama - LowerRight Tee

Only NY

Only NY has been around since 2007, when it was founded by graphic artist and designer Micah Belamarich. What sets Only NY apart from the pack is its tendency to lean into the uniquely nature-bent side of New York (skating in tree-filled parks that sometimes smell like hot salami, for example) and it often partners with local artists, city municipalities, and local brands. 

Jigs L/S T-Shirt
NYC Parks Wildlife T-Shirt
NYC Parks Highfalls Swim Shorts

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

It’s an institution. Hallowed ground for people who love art, Gossip Girl, and fashion; a must for tourists, locals, and pigeons alike. As with all museums, its best section is the gift shop (fight me), which is filled with all kinds of I <3 NY goodies. 

NYC Skyline Cap
Greek Coffee Cup Enamel Pin

Peep the online deadstock sellers

Hot tip: You can also scope Etsy and eBay for amazing NY-centric dead stock apparel and accessories, like this Yankees cowboy hat that is sweeping us off our feet…

New York Yankees 1980s Cowboy Hat

… And OFC Steve Buscemi’s cousin has a line of NYC merch

You bet. In case you didn’t know, Steve Buscemi is a local legend, longtime firefighter, and forever zaddy—and his cousin, Jon Buscemi, is a master luxury sneaker and streetwear designer. Nothing more New Yahk than keepin’ it in the family, ya know?

NYC logo sweatshirt
New York print shirt

Thanks for reading, boss—now lemmegetuhhh… 

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.  


Brooklyn, New York, Streetwear, Sneakers, The Met, earrings, skate gear, only ny

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