With Houston Hall closed for renovations, and Sansom Common open, the configuration for campus shopping has changed more in the last year than in any year since Almanac began sampling the goods that faculty, staff, and students can find in walking distance. Here are some of the discoveries our students and staff made.
The Stores They Are A-Changin'
HOLIDAY SHOPPING AT PENN
For those who were upset to see the original Urban Outfitters close down over a year ago 'tis the season to rejoice. Since they've joined Sansom Common family, Urban Outfitters has certainly come a long way from that warehouse on 41st and Locust. Their new store is modern and sleek yet the funky, and eclectic feel of the warehouse is not wholly lost to its neon lights. The image the store conveys carries over into Urban Outfitters' stock of clothing as well as their holiday merchandise. The look this season is cool metal, so if you're ready for a disco Christmas, pick up a shiny aluminum table-top Christmas tree ($12) and mini-ornaments ($8/ a set)--or mirror-balls ($5-$12) if you prefer--and get started! They've furnished their storefront with offerings of "alternative" tree ornaments from little martini glasses complete with synthetic pimento olives to delicate blown-glass orbs in varied colors and sizes ($3-$9/each). Eye-catching items such as brass- and silver-colored card display trees ($20), boxes of "Cheesy Poofs" from TV's South Park fame ($5) and inflatable armchairs ($35) are only a few of the things Urban sells exclusively. Some practical gift items which suit even the most difficult "giftees" are: the Jumbo Cup and Saucer set ($5) available in a multitude of colors; and silk-bound, embroidered, hard cover diaries ($14). With their clever floor displays, Urban Outfitters has really made it easy for its shoppers to keep their gift ideas fresh and diverse. Walk through and pick up a diary; pair it up with a picture frame or a jewelry box or candle or earrings or even cosmetics and you have a different gift each time!
Don't let yourself bypass the sights and scents of Douglas Parfumerie this season. At one of the hot new shops on campus, you will find many hidden treasures amidst the colors and fragrances --there is something for everyone! Don't let the fancy name deter you from setting foot inside its glass doors. It is a budget friendly store that offers 10% to students and staff of both the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel and gives free gift wrapping and complimentary baskets for gift sets, as well as free shipping. You'll find everything from fragrances to skin care and hair accessories, aromatherapy to slippers.
Some of the unique aspects of Penn's Douglas Parfumerie are its computer assisted shopping. The Clinque cyberface offers cosmetic suggestions for skin type and shape; at the arome machine you can sample different perfume scents; and there is an i-MAC conveniently available where you can visit the store's homepage.
A Douglas exclusive is it's exquisite ornament collection or hand blown glass balls imported from Germany. They sell for $12.50 and the proceeds benefit the United Way. There is also a variety of ornaments that sell from $1.95.
This year's holiday theme is celestial. There are angel, star, and moon candles, also made in Germany, that sell from $7.50 to $12.50.
There is a wide range of fragrances for a wide range of people and pocketbooks. "L'Air du Temps" by Nina Ricci is one of the more popular perfumes that sells 1/4 oz. for $78. In addition, "Opium" Yves Saint Laurent is $90 for a 1/4 oz. and "Coco" by Chanel, 1/4 oz. for $88.00, while Clinque's "Wrappings" sells 1.7 oz. for $32.50 and Lancome's "Oui" 1.7 oz. for $37.00. And if you are in need of unique or rare fragrances that you just can't find anywhere, Douglas is more than willing to try and track them down at one of their other stores. There are also many lovely gift boxes of such items as perfume, cologne, body lotions and soap from Liz Claiborne, Clinque, and Estee Lauder to name a few. They range in price from $35 to $45. The only Origins counter in the Philadelphia area offers an sensory therapy gift box for $32.50 and aromatherapy gift balls for $18.50.
Among they even have personal care items for kids, such as a dinosaur bubble bath and body brushes in the shape of animals.
A new addition to University City, this store ia a haven for those who love the great outdoors. Indeed, shopping at this store is a pleasurable experience, as the atmosphere is down-to-earth and the service is friendly and knowledgeable. Though it caters to some very specific interests, the store also carries a wide selection of sportswear that everyone can enjoy. Though there are shirts, sweaters and pants, the main emphasis in the store is on the outerwear, as it offers all varietes of jackets and pullovers that are particularly appropriate for the cold weather season. For instance, a ladies' waterproof Gore-Tex jacket sells for $169.50, while a men's fleece vest is $69.50. To make these high-quality goods even more appealing, all Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) brand name outerwear is currently 20% off.
For the serious nature enthusiast, the store offers equipment for a variety of activities, such as camping, hiking, and rock-climbing. Some of the items include backpacks, blankets, hiking boots, binoculars, cookware, and even snowshoes! In particular, EMS carries a wide selection of Northface products, such as tents and sleeping bags, that will outfit any camping trip.
On a more playful note, the store also offers the National Parks edition of Monopoly ($34.50); the Swiss "Lugz" Tube ($12.50), an inflatable sled for kids; and the Instant Blues Harmonica ($16.50), "created especially for people who've tried before without success," to cite just a few examples.
The new Penn Bookstore is so much bigger than the old one--and with so much more to choose from--that no quick thumbnail sketch will do it justice.
Books take front and center, of course. From the bright rotunda entry at 36th and Walnut, the long diagonal spine of the store stretches diagonally toward the center of the block to end in The Penn Shop. It's a little like walking through a very small town: From the central boulevard, aisles branch left and right to subdivisions organized by subject. Tall pillars display especially handsome volumes on the arts and architecture, some of them specific to Penn or to the region. Among the things that catch the eye here are: catalogs from the shows at the Arthur Ross Gallery and the ICA, and an impressive 3-D tour of architecture over the centuries, The Architecture Pack ($50) by Ron van Der Meer and Deyan Sudjic. Among the dozens of titles singled out by the store for this area are Oprah Winfrey's Journey to Beloved ($40) and the audiobook of Beloved itself, read by Toni Morrison ($39.95).
One long wall has magazines and newspapers from near and far, and during normal seasons the only bric-a-brac in sight is mostly book-related (see more on gifts below.)
About midway there are escalators to a second level where in addition to more books there's a coffee bar with sweets, with seating on a kind of balcony where munchers can look out over the busy crossroads 36th and Walnut has become. At the far end of this level is the relatively modest music section (as noted in a Speaking Out response on page 6, music retailing is a new venture for Barnes & Noble, who manage the Bookstore). As Almanac noted earlier, the University Library's CD of rare recordings by Marian Anderson is there; and as one of our students asked us to note, so is the Boss's new 4-CD set ($69.99).
What books are good for giving this year? Too many choices for this space. But this Sunday's New York Times Book Review list of 300 recommended titles, and the new Bookstore is likely to have most of them in stock (or can order if asked expeditiously). Not in the Times, but noteworthy for campus booklovers:
For more Penn regalia, The Penn Shop has its traditional Penn insignia'd sweats, hats, t-shirts and socks, and ties--and some unexpected Penn silk nighties ($32.98). The Class of 2000 millennium t-shirts and hats are also new to this line, and the reverse-weave sweatshirts are 20% off now.
Speaking of discounts and other special things:
Gifts: The book-minded giver will get ideas from stocking-stuffer "Bookmarks from the World Over" to well-made bookends (Rodin's thinker, gargoyles, cats, Winnie the Pooh catch the eye). There are witty and elegant mugs to hold drinks, Boston Museum of Fine Arts totes to hold books and things, fancy frames to hold photos, and umbrellas to hold over your head when it rains. Not ordinary umbrellas: they're mostly oversize; and besides the Red and Blue bumbershoot with the Penn shield there are, for art lovers, elegant reproductions of famous paintings to stay dry under ($36).
Some stuff in the bookstore is pure fun (How do you carry a tune? Why, with musical sox, of course. The supply is short for these Santa socks, which play a medley as you walk wearing them. Hanukkah sox are ($6.50.) Or you could celebrate two traditions with a sweatshirt that says Deck the Halls with Lox & Bagels ($14.95). Real food includes both Christmas candies and bags of tricolor Star of David pasta ($5.48); muffin mixes and mulling spices; Godivas in many sizes (some with teddy bears) and the chocolates packaged just for Penn, called A Sweet Taste of Achievement.
In its new larger quarters in Sansom Common, the Computer Connection now has a wider selection of software than it did in its Locust Walk location. And, in conjunction with the Bookstore's Holiday Spree December 16-19, the Computer Connection will also have a sale with 10% off selected games, mousepads and computer accessories. (Currently, children's titles and entertainment software are 10% off.)
Some miscellaneous browsings on CD:
The gift for the family genealogist, Family Tree Maker, is ($59.95) for Mac or Windows. There's a 1999 Britannica CD with 73,000 articles ($89.95), and 108 years of National Geographic ($149.95) and the third edition of the Oregon Trail-Celebrating 150 Years, 1848-1998, ($45). Ages of Myst comes with Riven and the Making of Riven ($50). And software is available to learn foreign languages such as Arabic, Spanish, German and Latin.
For those who've been waiting for the cost of saying "Cheese!" to come down can finally try it: The QuickCam color camera that attaches to a computer is now $125. The Palm III organizer ($349) comes with a coupon for a free travel pack.
Those who need space to store their great American novel as it unfolds can get Zip Drives ($149). If the graphics turn you on ($1215 worth) there's the 15" flat panel monitor, 1024 x 768 pixels, Mac and Windows compatible. If that's pi in the sky, there's consolation that the selection of mouse pads ($5.95 and up) gets better every year, too.
To check out what else the Computer Connection carries, try www.upenn.edu/ccx or take a walk over to Sansom west of 36th and see why some say, "iMac therefore I am."
In the closing of Houston Hall and University Plaza, '3401' gained two retail stores that are owner-operated and have strong followings throughout campus.
Though Smile and Sam Goody's are no more, the oldtimers add new character to the whole block. (By the start of the spring term, Penn Book Center will add still more, at the Goody's site.) Below, we start with the newly placed Roses and University Jewelers, then give brief glimpses of some familiar outlets that are still where they were this time last year.
Always struggling to brighten its basement corner in Houston Hall, Roses in its new quarters on Walnut is luminous. Shoppers enter through a grove of potted Norfolk pines ($5 to $45) to be surrounded by poinsettias ($5 up), noticing the very air seems better to breathe. A new line of well-chosen gift items adds a lot to the new store. Many are for the gardener (majolica jardinieres, hand-painted cache pots and vases), and others evoke the garden by design-floral writing papers alone or in a handsome matched set of desk accessories, for example. There are decorated candles, candle-holders and table centerpieces for the holidays, and, for the kids, some of the more charming stuffed animals found on this year's tour. A plush Pooh and his friends, all in pastels, are $13. Classic teddies in rich colors come in all price ranges, and at the top of the line are a mother-baby elephant or a giraffe and her shy little one, $56, and a mother beagle with two pups, complete with wicker bed, $64.
Roses does a brisk trade in flowers by wire, and traditional fruit baskets for the holidays. A new wrinkle to us was the munchie baskets that Penn parents call up and order for their exam-facing sons and daughters: popcorn and chips, candies and cookies, with drinkables like cider or packets of special coffees and teas are supplied. Those things are also for sale at the shop.
The present site of Roses may not be its last, as some shoppers learned late in the summer; a neighbor had an option on the space and may exercise it, prompting another move in January. But Almanac was assured independently by the University's Real Estate Director that "the University thinks the world of this shop, and we are committed to having them in 3401."
Always elegant in the timeless way of jewelers at home in the ancient trade of precious metals and gems, University Jewelers seems even more so in its new store on Walnut. To a hushed and soothing new setting the owners brought with them the personal service (engraving, lots of attention, discounts, and free wrapping) that has kept them a loyal following for decades. The inventory has always been strong on the more elegant necessities of a university--the gold or silver pen--and pencil engraved and presented with fanfare, the charm or medallion personalized for remembrance, and whatever the bride has secretly chosen for the groom when classmates marry after graduation. At holiday time, it's all of the above plus a high volume in well set stones, and the price range could be summed up as "not as expensive as you thought it would be."
For the hip and funky, 9 & Co. offers a unisex "Room-In-A-Box" complete with an inflatable chair, ottoman, pillow and picture frame for $55. And for $29 a "Bag-A-Snooze" comes with a mid-size carryall filled with fuzzy slippers and nightshirt.
But, if you know the size and taste of those on your list--or know them well enough to bring them along and never mind surprises--9 & Co.'s "Buy One, Get One 1/2 Off" discount on most shoes and selected clothes items is a good incentive to check out the trends.
From now until Christmas, Foot Locker is having what must be the best sale in town with 50-70% off everything except selected shoe styles. For the athlete in your life there is a large variety of sweat pants and shirts (from $10) and T-shirts to add to your shopping list. They also sell Michael Jordan cologne at $12 a bottle or $35 for a gift case.
New for the holiday season is the Gap Card--not a gift certificate, but a debit card that can be reloaded with money. The card comes with a minimum purchase of $10. But for those who want to make the choice and wrap it:
Blue no. 655 gift sets for him and her sell for $32. His, in a blue attaché case, comes with lotion and body shampoo. Hers is in a white attaché case, with body shampoo and lotion, as well as a candle and body scrub. But you can also mix and match to create a set from items ranging from $2-$32. The Gap fragrance Blue no. 655 sells for $20.
The Gap has put together a wish list of what have been found the most stylish basics for under $50: fleece hats ($12.50), scarves ($16.50), sweatshirts ($48) and V-necks ($29.50) are popular and can be given to most everyone on your list and they will keep them warm too!.
Although the Gap doesn't do wrapping it offers a signature Gap box with each purchase.
Don't laugh, you might do some gift shopping as you drop in for an exam or some new frames or contact lenses. One large selection of frames is on sale at 50% off through the holiday season, while others are 20% off. So, you need a gift idea for an optically-challenged friend, gift certificates are available in any desired dollar amount.
It is what its name says, with the largest selection of greeting cards at Penn, since Houston Hall closed. But it's also whatever you need it to be, brimming with rubber duckies, wind-up toys, key-chains, stuffed animals, mugs, candles, calendars, chocolates, jelly beans, balloons, invitations, decorations, and all sorts of wrapping paraphernalia. They have a plethora of Beanie Babies; you'll also find Sesame Street, Winnie the Pooh, Wallace & Gromit and South Park merchandise. The stationery kits and piggy-banks in the form of South Park characters are functional. Others, such as the transparent plastic dreidels and jittering critter toys, are purely for fun. Since it's easy to get carried away, remember to take your credit card
Sansom Coffee Sampler
You can jump-start Java lovers this holiday season with coffee pure and simple (or maybe not-so-simple) averaging at $10-$12 a pound or $5-$6 for 1/2 lb. from the several sources around 34th & Sansom streets as well as Sansom Common. Gift certificates and various ground or whole bean coffees are available at all of the following locations, but each place offers some extra special things for the holidays that leave the usual cup o' Joe out in the cold.
In its second year on campus, Starbucks is going stronger than ever with it's "8 to Celebrate" coffee sampler. A holiday greeting card with latte coupon for $2.95 paired with the chocolate snowman lollipop $2.50 is inexpensively thoughtful. Secret Santa responsibilities are made easy with the gift box of Christmas Blend (their featured flavor) and Anniversary coffees, a 1/2 lb. bag of each packaged nicely for $11.75; or four assorted 1/2 lb. coffees in a holiday tin for $21.95. Stainless steel mugs and thermoses ($26-38) are great for those serious coffee consumers, and Starbucks is the only coffee shop on campus that sells them.
Avril 50 is more magazine store and tobacconist than a cafe. But they do sell coffee and the gourmands who continue frequent the establishment over the years will tell you that anything Avril 50 carries comes in a wide and exotic range of varieties. It's the only place at Penn that sells aromatic loose teas ($5 per half-pound to $12 for those from Japan). You'll find chocolates from Belgium, Holland, Germany, England and Switzerland under $4, and gift boxes up to $14; calendars and engagement books, and pretty paper to wrap it all up in ($1.95 a sheet).
Bucks County Coffee Co. adds the gift of music in its third year on Sansom Street. Java Jazz is a compilation of various artists on CD priced at $12.95. It is also available as part of the Mistletoe Gift Set, decoratively packaged to include a 3/4 lb. bag of their seasonal Mistletoe Blend coffee ($19.95). Those who miss their Hamilton Village store at 40th and Locust need not fret; the coffee's just as plentiful on Sansom Street.
XandO, last but not least on the coffee tour of Penn, is the new kid on the block at Sansom Common, right next to the Penn Bookstore. Once you get over the debate on how to pronounce their name, you may want to check out the plethora of non-coffee merchandise XandO sells. They've got thermal mugs, key chains, glass magnets, spiral notebooks, T-shirts, baseball hats and polo sweatshirts starting at $6.95 but priced no higher than $48; some make good stocking stuffers while others are great gifts, especially when paired with a pound of coffee or a gift certificate. Special for the season are XandO's funky glass art mugs ($24) featuring designs similar to the artworks decorating the shop's interior.
For really special house warming or hostess gifts, or just the present for someone who has taste for sophisticated handmade crafts, the Black Cat on Sansom is the place. A partner to the White Dog Cafe, it goes in for pottery and woven goods are both elegant and amusing, often with an animal motif, and it has sleek modern housewares for grownups as well as some very funky and nostalgic toys and room decorations items for children. There are ornaments of all sorts from $8 to $20; boxed holiday cards for Christmas and Hanukkah from $10 to $15 with snow scenes as well as a variety of cats; Santa, reindeer, and cats-as-angels candleholders at $21 a piece; elf doorstops for $20; socks with Christmas themes for $7; wrapping paper for $4.50; picture frames in all shapes and sizes from $8 to $16; and a cassette ($10) or CD ($15) of "A Season to Rejoice" -and proceeds benefit Pediatric AIDS.
Entered through the Black Cat, or from the old Moravian Street side, the Saturn Club is a stylish hairdressers' salon with Aveda makeup, makeovers and free consultations. More tangibly, there are hair accessories (75¢ - $8), oils and incense, body glitter ($4), temporary tattoos ($3), self-massagers ($15), nail polish ($4-6), manicure sets ($4), and a large selection of haircare products. Shoppers can add individual flair by selecting from the various products to put together their own gift packages. Gift certificates (either for a dollar amount or a specific service) are still an attractive gift option, and certificates over $40 in value are 10% off up until Christmas. With manicures starting at $12 and a wide array of stocking stuffers available, Saturn Club presents many affordable gift possibilities.
A few years ago we called this "40th Street and Beyond," but it's had a makeover marked by a new name. Last year it had a fewe things that aren't there any more: Urban Outfitters made its move to Sansom Common, and the Starbucks and Nautilus on Locust Street have closed in preparation for the construction of the Sundance complex.
There's a new boutique at 3931 Walnut that has wall-to-wall gift possibilities the loved one who is rabid for video games. At the site of what was once the Going Greek insignia store, Game Gallery features games and acessories for all your favorite systems--Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Super Nintendo, Genesis, Game Boy, PC, Macintosh, etc.--both new and used. The Gallery also sells the systems themselves, including a Nintendo 64 package with a free second controller ($129, software not included). Hot items this year include the new Color Game Boy from Nintendo ($79.99) and Tomb Raider III for Sony PlayStation ($49.99). By far the most sought after video game this season is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for Nintendo 64, available in both a regular cartridge and the special limited gold edition. Prices for this latter item remain quite high due to its current scarcity ($89.99 and $79.99, respectively; think Furby). Expect prices to come down significantly once more shipments arrive.
The rest of the stores in what is now called Hamilton Village Shops are where they used to be, with holiday potential highlighted but by no means completely covered below.
This is the place to go for virtually everything electronic, with everything from speaker wire to computers lining the shelves. Great gift ideas for kids include radio-controlled race cars for every budget ($12.99 - $199.99). A popular new item this year, and one sure to please anyone on the go, is the Sprint PCS digital cellular phone starting at $99.
Every shoe is always discounted at this quaint boutique. Gift certificates ($20) are available for shoe lovers who really need to make their own purchases; here they can choose from casual, formal, or anything in between. Popular among students this year are Naot comfort shoes, direct from Israel, and Steve Madden shoes for women. The typical spread of shoe brands can also be found, including Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Timberland, and Airwalk.
Gifts for cinema lovers are floor-to-ceiling as well as wall-to-wall at the Penn Video Library, but the clerks are most obliging and they know their stock inside out. They have a large supply of new movies from all genres plus some good buys in used ones ($4.95-$9.95).
For that fitness buff or bike lover on your list, a special holiday sale includes discounts on a number of high quality bicycles, as well as helmets to protect their lives. Interesting accessories include the Topeak Alien tool kit, which contains a variety of wrenches, screwdrivers, and even a bike chain repair tool, all in a compact Swiss-Army style package ($34.99, including carrying case). Cycle trainers let you convert your ordinary bike into a stationary exercise bike for indoor winter cycling ($89.99 and up). Be sure to pick up your holiday sale pamphlet at the store, entitling you to additional discounts.
Photographic products to suit any budget are plentiful at the Camera Shop, where Advanced Photo System cameras start at just $24.99. If someone you know has been thinking of making the move to a new digital camera, now may be the time to surprise them with one-closeouts (starting at $149.99) and newer models ($299.99 and up) will create brilliant pictures with no wait for film processing. A great new way to share your photos with family and friends is the internet photo album, where your rolls of film are placed on a personal internet page at just 99 cents for 24 exposures, and you'll still get them back in about an hour.
This is one of two locations (the other is at on 34th Street) and they both have discount coupons, including 15% off digital photo restoration of your priceless family images--that should spread a lot of joy through your home during the holdiay season.
Medical books are its stock in trade--and it looks to be a very complete stock indeed--but there are also anatomy charts and flashcards among other things for the med student. Keeping up with the state of the art, Dolbey's offers the Pocket PDR (Physician's Desk Reference), which allows doctors and medical students alike to use a PDR anywhere they need to go. At $149.95 it's a steal. In addition, supplementary book cards to be used with the Pocket PDR are available for an extra $95.95. Last but not least, check out Dolbey's CD ROM's.
Tiny but packed with shoes for sale, this sales and repair shop also has footware products you might need if winter ever comes and you need to waterproof something. For sale are mostly dress shoes at reasonable prices-men should expect to pay between $50 and $100 for dress shoes and boots, and women $40 to $120. They don't take personal checks so be sure to bring cash or credit cards for all purchases and services.
Here the dilemma is not just which insignia in what color, but which of the buy-one-get-one-free variations to choose: One allows you to substitute for your free sweatshirt : three long sleeve T-shirts, or three short sleeve T-shirts, or three baseball caps, or any combination of those three. You may also buy one long sleeve T-shirt and get two free. In addition to clothing, Steve & Barry's have mugs, tumblers, glasses, teddy bears and key chains. And price is the object: low.
This friendly, owner-operated bookstore is a legend among book lovers in the academic community, with many an intellectual favorite not found elsewhere. It also has a large fiction section as well-and a very helpful staff. House of Our Own is a pleasant option for booklovers any time of year, but especially at this season it offers gifts for the mind.
Spruce Street Records and Tapes is the only place left on campus that is dedicated just to music, music, music. They can cater to a wide selection of musical tastes. All of their new CD's cost between $12.99 and $13.99--comparable to most prices you would find downtown. For convenience, they offer gift certificates; and for relief of your pocketbook they also sell used CD's, tapes, and records.
In the 3900 block of Walnut, CVS is the westerly campus's quick stop for all the little things it takes to get set for the holidays-it's mainstream in its wrapping paper and ribbons, tree ornaments and lights, and seasonally wrapped candies at affordable prices. Shopping for national brands of toiletries as gifts, or for stocking stuffers for all ages, is quick and painless at CVS (they seem to keep all their registers staffed, which helps), and the film processing gets good marks.
In the 3700 block of Walnut, Eckerd is smaller than CVS but uses its space to advantage. A slightly different mix of candy, lights, tree decorations, and holiday decorations for the home. In addition, Eckerd also has a large selection of toys the younger members of your family. For preteens, teens, and young adults check out Eckerd's pre-played Playstation, Genesis, and Super Nintendo video games ranging from $14.99 to $19.99. For those in search of electronics in the $24.99 to $59.99 range, Eckerd also sells radios, Walkmans, and portable CD Players.
The University of Pennsylvania Alumni Society headquarters is a popular place to shop at holiday time for friends and family who feel close to Penn. Jewelry and desk accessories such as cuff links ($17.50), money clips ($7.50), tie bars ($7.50), and dagger bookmarks as well as marble paperweights, bookends and desk clocks, all feature the University insignia. A polished brass business card case at $10 makes a great gift for that recent graduate, and what golfer wouldn't get a kick out of the Penn brass-plated divot tool ($13.95) and gold-plated cloisonné ball markers ($5.50-$8). For that special Penn lady, an elegant silk scarf ($40) bearing the Penn coat of arms makes both a fashionable and functional keepsake. And any member of the Penn community would be thrilled with one of the several styles of mens' or ladies' Penn watches (one is metallic with leather straps, $99.95).
New this season are a supplex nylon windshirt ($45-$49) and poly canvas duffle bag ($43). Other wearable Penn gear from the Alumni Society Collection are the long-sleeved denim shirt ($45-47.25), short-sleeved polo shirt ($39-$41), navy and white turtlenecks ($30-$32), and four varieties of Penn baseball caps ($16-18), as well as red and blue knitted hats ($13.95).
Special items that must be advance ordered are: the duffle bag (above); polished black wooden Pennsylvania chairs adorned with the Penn crest ($295 including shipping and handling), available in both straight up (known as "academic") and rocker models; and the color lithograph of College Hall Green, hand-signed by the artist David Keeling, taking in the view from Fisher Fine Arts Library to College Hall itself, with the Ben Franklin statue at center stage [Two versions are available: an open edition print (10" x 16", $35) and one of a 1,500 piece limited edition (18" x 30", $130). The same lithograph is also available double-matted behind glass in a handsome wooden frame (overall 16" x 21" for the open edition, $75; overall 24" x 36" for the limited edition, $195].
Those interested can contact Burt Ploener by phone at 898-8736, or stop at the Sweeten Alumni House, 3533 Locust Walk.
The Museum Shop in the main rotunda is famous for gifts that reflect the culturally diverse collections on view at the Museum.
The Shop is particularly noted for its distinctive international jewelry, irresistible to give or get. Venetian glass bracelets, necklaces and earrings are especially popular and, starting at $18 with a typical range of $20-50, they are also well priced. Other cultural influences in the jewelry selection include Nepal, Egypt, Israel, China, Indonesia, and the Americas. Discriminating shoppers have plenty more to choose from, though: fine books, well-made totes, neckties, scarves, handbags, mugs, music, games, bookmarks, picture frames, cards, stationery, jewelry, and collectible woodcarvings and figurines. There are holiday cards ($7.75-15.95), gift wrap, and ornaments ranging from a metal Maya Rabbit ($1) to a glass blown Tsar Ivan ($39).
Whimsy on the cutting edge is a mouse pad in several Oriental and Navajo rug designs, complete with fringed edges. The Shop also has an impressive collection of world music on CD ($15-20) and tape ($10.95) of Latin, Celtic, Chinese, and African origin, featuring artists such as the Gipsy Kings ($18.95) and Angélique Kidjo ($17.95).
The Pyramid Shop in the Educational Wing has one-stop global shopping for presents sure to please any child: international toys, stocking stuffers, crafts, books and ornaments, from 50¢ to $50. A broad array of tree ornaments come from Latin America, South Africa, Egypt , Russia, India, Japan, and around the world. Educational games, craft kits and puzzles ($5.25-24.95) teach inquisitive children about the secrets, legends and rituals of ancient civilizations. The craft kits in particular make ideal gifts for those with a creative streak: For $14.95, there's a decorate-it-yourself holiday card set with stickers, and the latest in kits is Mehndi Body Art ($5.95-20), of Indian influence, which allows youngsters to draw their own temporary tattoos with henna dye.
From Scratch: Faithful Museum shoppers will remember that it's "surprise discount" time again. A card has been mailed to all faculty, staff and students, valid now through December 23, to present upon purchase. As the cashier scratches off the patch on the card, it reveals a discount 15% to 75%.
Since CHOP's Daisy Shop scaled back and the HUP Gift Shop came up in the world (its posh new location is up the escalator from the new Ravdin entrance), the three small gift shops that serve South-of-Spruce Street shoppers are more nearly comparable than before (the third is in Penn Tower). All are well-stocked with stuffed toys--including Beanie Babies galore--but all do, with a little browsing, turn up something for everybody. But there are also differences. Some glimpses:
One wall is stuffed with critters, including Teletubbies at $8.99 and $20.99. Dressed-up teddy bears distinguish the G.P. in white from a surgeon in green; there's a nurse standing by and even a teddy patient in recover. Also picture frames and nice bric-a-brac, a few woven goods, colorful sleep tees ($17) a small rack of glittery party dresses ($50) and quartz watches ($20). A resin Santa helps display holiday cards ($12).
Here the stuffed toys have a small circular room to themselves, and they're starting to grow: the small ones are much like HUP's, but here's a big blue Cookie Monster at $65. This was the only place we saw tall wooden nutcrackers in the classic uniform, $30.
Just inside the main entry is a Flower Emporium, the only one of the pair at Penn that is oper-ating at the moment (the 38th Street store's move to International House calls for more renovations). Decorated Norfolk pines are $5-$45, and flower, fruit or food deliveries, $35 up.
Half the shop is a variety store with some nostalgic touches-tiny card games like Fish and Snap starting at 69 cents-and some space-age things (soft sculpture rocket ship kids could sit in, $75). They win the stuffed competition: a life-size husky or panda is $135. Another panda, who lies on the floor as a hearthrug, is only $45.
Getting through the holiday season calls for services as well as goods. These are some of the campus outlets that save time and sanity for those who face the year's end in a frenzy.
As the name suggests, the shop in the 3700 block of Walnut leases mailboxes but also does more. If getting packages at home is a problem you can have things sent there on piecemeal basis ($5/package). It's also a one-stop location for packaging materials (cartons, tubes, padding, tape, the works) or you can call on their expertise for wrapping the unwrappable for safe passage anywhere. This packagaing skill has also landed them with a year-end rush unrelated to gift-giving: at move-out time, they do much of the shipping of what used to fill up students closets in the dorms. Also a FedEx outlet, it was the only place we saw that one-ups manila envelopes by presenting adding an option in rainbow colors (9x12 is 50c, 5x8 25c).
Also a FedEx site, but with services all its own, is the new Pulse in the Sheraton-computer rental by the hour ($8) and offset printing among them. And customized calendars.
For simpler copy help, and for passport photos in case of sudden need, Campus Copy has two locations on Walnut-in the 3700 block and the 3900 block. In the latter location there's a neighboring Kinko.