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Best Things You Didn't Know You Needed

  • Top Hat

    245 Broome St., nr. Ludlow St.; 212-677-4240

    Nina Allen’s closet-size gift shop on the Lower East Side may not solve any of your practical life problems, but its wares are, in a word, delightful. White walls serve as the perfect canvas for the owner’s globally plucked selection of appealing oddball stuff including hand-painted porcelain fruit from Birmingham, England; scrub brushes assembled by vision-impaired artisans at the Berlin Institute for the Blind; inflatable stationery from Japan; and faux snowballs from Finland that crunch when you squeeze them. There’s even a calendar knitted into a scarf that requires its wearer to tug a thread to change the date—the embodiment of German punctiliousness and New York excess, if there ever was one.

From the 2012 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine

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