304 E. 5th St., nr. First Ave.; 646-449-8581
Kids who drooled over the mind-controlled robot at last year’s Maker Faire in Flushing will find similar delights at Sharon Gershi’s new hobby shop for DIY-ers of all ages, open since July. Twenty-three-year-old Gershi graduated from NYU with a dual degree in computer and electrical engineering; her impressive range of build-your-owns varies from cheap and simple (turn a soda can into a googly-eyed, wheeled robot for $16) to advanced and expensive ($349 gets your teen a Bioloid beginner robot kit that comes with the frames, nuts, bolts, and programming to construct 27 different robots). There are creative no-tech toys, too, like a tiny make-your- own 3D Empire State Building constructed from punch- out steel pieces ($6). Overstuffed shelves and racks make the most of Gershi’s cozy 450-square-foot space. While the shop isn’t big enough for on-site tinkering, Gershi offers an invaluable service to Luddite parents: She’s an expert gift-suggester, and is more than willing to explain what the heck these gadgets actually do.
Best DIY Toys
From the 2014 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).