19 W. 21st St., near Fifth Ave.
This 11,000-square-foot thespian’s paradise specializes
in costumes, magician’s supplies, and novelty items.
Movie studios and TV sets routinely rent props, while puppeteers
choose from a vast array of marionettes ($12–$65), puppets,
and ventriloquist dolls ($68– $1200). Gongs ($450–
$1,000) and crystal balls are often sold or rented for kids’
birthday parties, as are adult-size costumes.
44 W. 18th St., near Sixth Ave.
While adults browse art-studio furniture, tykes can wander
awestruck through an aisle and a half of colorful, nontoxic
clays ($3.95–$6.95), face-painting sets, kids’
easels ($49.99), and carrying cases filled with markers.
Trapdoors, skylights, rope ladders—you name
it, and Stiles Designs will make it, safety permitting.
The ultimate kids’-fort builders have constructed
everything from the Victorian-style playhouse inside
the Dalton School to a $15,000 treehouse in East
Hampton, designed to resemble that of Bilbo Baggins
American Girl Place
609 Fifth Ave., at 49th St.
When this 43,000-square-foot behemoth opened last fall, it
came with a full line of eighteen-inch historical dolls (dressed
in period clothes, $84), a café, a bookstore, and a theater
that brings the dolls’ characters to life ($30 a ticket).
There’s also a walk-in doll hair salon ($10–$20).
1242 Madison Ave., near 89th St.
This tiny, family-owned store will personalize (and deliver)
practically anything for your little one, from embroidered
hooded towels to piggy banks and toy chests. Imported, handmade
wooden toys are available alongside games like Monopoly and
Scrabble. There’s also a good selection of early-childhood-development
toys. Prices are mostly $40 to $80.
Babies ’R’ Us
Gateway Center, 395 Gateway Dr., near Erskine St., Starret
The one-stop shop for all things baby carries a battery of
early-childhood-development toys. The Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders
Fishbowl features motion-activated aquatic sounds, lights,
and music ($14.99); for budding prodigies, a Baby Einstein
Sun Activity Toy features the music of Vivaldi, Bach, and
789 Lexington Ave., near 61st St.
There are tons of stuffed bears at this cozy shop. You’ll
also find educational games, hand-crafted marionettes ($19),
finger-puppet stages ($34–$56), and tons of canine-inspired
items like adorable stuffed-puppy handbags and doggy grooming
kits. There’s a cute line of children’s luggage,
too ($59 to $79).