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A Safe Bet
The phrase "watch your money grow" is no longer just an advertising ploy. In the hands of the folks at Crocodile Creek, the adage becomes a reality. Well, sort of. When kids add coins to a Whimsy bank, the chicken's neck grows longer. The cheery paint is nontoxic, and there's a lock and key to keep pennies safe ($25).
THE CHILDREN'S GENERAL STORE/2473 Broadway, near 92nd Street/212-580-2723; and LEXINGTON PASSAGE, GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL/212-682-0004
If you're bored with white table linens, pastels won't do, and the prints you're shown are just too noisy, head over to John Derian's wee shop. Here, tucked in among his découpage plates and platters, are Couleur Nature cotton tablecloths. They're created by voguish French designer Bruno Lamy in his Paris studio, then laboriously block-printed in the tiny Indian village of Sanager. Hand-carved blocks of teakwood are used to apply each design, one reason for the linens' special charm (from $54 for a 59-inch square cloth to $122 for a 71-by-142-inch one).
JOHN DERIAN/6 East 2nd Street/212-677-3917
The stark white interior of Nanette Lepore's shop is an ideal foil for her gypsy-bright clothing. She works with cotton-net and silks in kaleidoscope colors, blue-and-green peacock-feathered prints, and bold sequined flowers. Even her ginghams are intense -- fuchsia and turquoise. In Lepore's playful hands these zingy fabrics are transformed into sexy halter tops, little slip dresses, ruffle-edged skirts, and flirty dance frocks. But Lepore's new digs, designed by husband Robert Savage, are home to other temptations, too, like Tarina Tarantino jewelry, one-of-a-kind beaded handbags, and a smattering of crazy flea-market finds (from $10 for sequined Chinese slides to $30 for a straw bag to $200 for a flowered slip dress to $430 for a beaded dance dress).
NANETTE LEPORE/423 Broome Street/212-219-8265
Power, lightness, and maneuverability seem to be the salient qualities to look for in assessing tennis rackets: Gamma's Diamond Fiber C-3.0 is remarkable on all three counts. Though this German company is well known for its high-quality strings, it's now making a splash with superlight rackets. The C-3.0 weighs only 7.9 ounces strung (the first to break the 8-ounce barrier), yet it delivers both power and control, so it's great for those with a slow or compact swing as well as being easy on the arm ($249).
MASON'S TENNIS MART/56 East 53rd Street/212-755-5805
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