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Best Indie Toy Store

Boy meets dino at Kidding Around.  
  • Kidding Around

    60 W. 15th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-645-6337

    Sorry, no one goes by the name Dora the Explorer here. What you’ll find instead is a collection of toys, dolls, and games chosen solely for their capacity to inspire creativity. Husband-and-wife proprietors Christina Clark and Paul Nippes fill the front of their store with easily accessible $5-and-under options—or, as Clark calls them, “restaurant toys.” For toddlers, there’s a selection of Haba blocks and shape-sorters and nearly an entire wall of Corolle dolls, along with all the essential gear (strollers, changes of clothing). A neighboring aisle is devoted to food-preparation play, with a cruise-ship galley’s worth of tea sets, fruit baskets, and play kitchens. Dress-up options and craft projects get most of Clark’s attention: “If you think about it,” she says, “costumes have the longest life of almost any toy you can find. A kid will play with a superhero cape or tutu from 2 to 10.” Or long enough to outlast any Dora obsession.

From the 2009 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine