This Week’s Side Street: Side Street Wonders for Kids

Scattered throughout the side streets are a number of whimsical children’s boutiques, toy shops, and a bookstore. Each is worth a visit whether to shop for adorable clothing, creative activities to do with the little ones, or to find the perfect story to read to them.

Bombalulu’s – 10th Street

A dangerous but terrific find for me. I had a great time looking through all of the original designs of clothing for little ones (newborn to age twelve). I was attracted to the New York-themed t-shirts and sweatshirts, toys and my weak spot, the shoes. That was where I just could not resist making a purchase for my little granddaughter. Check out their store HERE.

Kidding Around – 15th Street

toylady copy

The first time I entered this phenomenal toy store was almost two years ago when I was just beginning my walking journey… and I could not wait to go back to explore every shelf when I was ready to post 15th Street. I have now visited Kidding Around countless times and I am always thrilled to be there. So much of the shop reminds me of the book store that I owned. We prided ourselves in the selection of educational toys, games and puzzles that we carried, and it is a real walk down memory lane for me to see so many of the same items still delighting parents and children. Husband and wife Paul Nippis and Christina Clark have been wowing parents, grandparents and, most importantly, children for the past twenty years with their wonderland of toys, dolls, puzzles, instruments, science kits, games and so much more. There is a wonderful community feeling in this store – children have definitely grown up here. The staff is knowledgeable, helpful and clearly love what they are selling. Any decision that a customer makes, they can be absolutely certain that they are leaving with a beautifully wrapped quality item.  Check out their store HERE.

Dinosaur Hill – 9th Street

We have visited this fabulous toy store several times over the past few months, and it never disappoints. When I owned my own children’s bookstore, we offered educational toys, games and puzzles. Not only did Dinosaur Hill take me back to my days at Once Upon A Time, but also back to my own youth. So many old time favorites are here. Do you remember playing tiddlywinks? I was delighted to see that the company Ravensburger is still going strong, offering the same great games and puzzles that we had in my store. The hand carved wooden toys are enchanting, as are the marionettes, puppets, musical instruments and baby clothing. They have a small, but good, selection of books and fun bath time items, beautiful embossed blocks, available in fifteen different languages and Braille. Congratulations to the team at Dinosaur Hill for remaining in business on East 9th Street since 1983.  Check out their store HERE.

Books of Wonder – 18th Street


Peter Glassman and I have known each other for over twenty-five years. He was one of the first to welcome me into the wonderful world of children’s bookstore owners when we met shortly after I had opened my shop, Once Upon A Time, in 1985. By then, he had been providing children with the magic of story books for five years. Today, he stands virtually alone in Manhattan and can certainly claim to be the oldest and largest independent children’s bookstore in New York. I closed my store in 1995 and I have constantly marveled at how determined he has been to keep afloat throughout the years of Borders and Barnes & Noble. I was in awe as he switched locations, opened up additional shops both in the city and in LA. I then shared in his disappointment when they could not withstand the changes in the economy. I was the first to order, for my store, his beautifully illustrated line of classics that had his imprint. I made my own personal purchases from his rare book collection, and now I continue to applaud him for his passion and strong desire to keep books alive for children. He has never veered off the path that he began. His shelves are stocked primarily with hardcovers, always emphasizing the classics – especially his beloved corner filled with everything related to the Wonderful World of Oz . Peter and his staff continue to offer weekly story times, family-oriented events, author signings and classes for children and their parents. Check out their shop HERE.

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