Show the young person in your life how much you care by taking him/her on an excursion to one of the store’s listed below, our top five picks for retail establishments that will blow a kid’s mind — in a good way. These stores specialize in toys and goods that stimulate the imagination.
Because even superheroes run out of maps and “mind control” spray, there’s the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. Taking as its motto “ever vigilant, ever true,” this store sells capes, disguises, “carbonated future,” and whatever else is needed by contemporary superheroes to do their good work and/or go about their day. Proceeds benefit 826NYC, a non-profit founded by Dave Eggers that helps kids with their writing skills.
A game store like you’ve never seen, The Compleat Strategist stocks an astonishing (think wall to wall and floor to ceiling) array of strategy, board, and role-playing games. Here’s where to go as well for dice, including skull, twilight polyhedral, and glitter; for books and magazines; for jewelry and plushes. It’s also where to go to stock up on board games for everyone, from your zombie-fixated daughter to your logic-loving son to your romantically inclined best bud and anyone else in your life who cares to play.
Since 1993, The Evolution Store in Soho has offered collectibles, jewelry, objets d’art, home furnishings, toys, puzzles, games, posters, and all around cool stuff (including actual skeletons, both human and animal, fossils, and taxidermied creatures) in the areas of natural history and science. There’s also a real live etymology workshop on site. What kid wouldn’t love a Neolithic stone tool or complete disarticulated human skeleton?
Tired of all the plastic? The batteries? The way all your kids’ toys seem to make noise? Playing Mantis specializes in crafts, clothes, musical instruments, puppets, and other playthings made from all-natural or recycled materials. Owner Imelda McCain sources her products from around the world, so every object offers an opportunity to have a teaching moment regarding heritage, culture, art, design, and globalization.
Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you that the greatest toys come from Japan. Toy Tokyo sources its goods straight from Japan, Hong Kong, and elsewhere in Asia and Europe. Everything here is cool with a capital C or maybe even a K, as in Kwel. Help the young person in your life learn to love Robot Devil, Daft Punk action figures, Michael Lau’s pigs, and other rare, vintage, or just plain unusual wind-up toys, figurines, and stuffed animals, and he/she will be the kwelest kid in school.