The New York City Kids Guide
It may have a reputation as being a concrete jungle, but New York City is packed with incredible, kid-friendly delights and adventures. These are the crowd pleasing spots for little ones.
Bank Street Bookstore2780 Broadway, Upper West Side | 212.678.1654
The Upper West Side is home to some of the best teaching programs in New York, and with it comes one of the best bookstores for little ones. You'll find everything from kids classics to the newest and best titles selected by the store's knowledgeable staff.
Kinokuniya Bookstore1073 6th Avenue , Times Square | 212.869.1700
If you have a stationery or sticker addict on your hands, they’re going to freak. This Japanese mega-store facing Bryant Park is one of our favorite midtown oases, and a solid option for a quick sushi cafeteria-style lunch. There’s an entire floor dedicated to Japanese manga comic books, a solid selection of design books and international fashion magazines, but the basement is the main draw. There, aisle after aisle is stuffed with an incredible array of Japanese stationery goods—adorable pens, pencils, notebooks, and erasers to last a lifetime.
Kisan125 Greene St., Soho | 212.475.2470
It's not that the clothes stocked at this subtly other-worldly (and easy to overlook) boutique are necessarily Parisian, but many of the brands—Demylee, Vanessa Bruno, Megan Park, Golden Goose—have that seasonless quality that the French pull off so well. This is not to say that the array isn’t without its wonderful eccentricities, whether it’s a doll-shaped Servane Gaxotte necklace, or a cat-bedecked Tsumori Chisato tunic. But we digress, because the real siren song is the kid’s selection, packed with Bonton pullovers, Anais & I party dresses, and Finger in the Nose jeans. There’s also a handful of toys from iconic brands like Villac.
Thomas Sires243 Elizabeth St., Nolita | 646.692.4472
This irresistible boutique—the brainchild of Fiona Thomas and Alison Sires—was originally intended as a showcase for the duo’s eponymous line of well-cut separates (they're both Loeffler Randall alums). It’s become much more, though, as they’ve found any number of gifts, knick knacks, and kids’ pieces to line the shelves. There are $5 finds, and there are $500 finds, but it’s all a wonderfully happy jumble.
Bit’z Kids410 Columbus Ave., Upper West Side | 212.724.1415
This under-the-radar Japanese brand puts out all sorts of cool and totally quirky prints and graphics that are both great and at times hilarious. (I.e., the tag in your toddler's pineapple-printed shorts might read: Big Goals Every Day.) The other big appeal is the cut: The pants and jeans in particular are good for skinnier, harder-to-fit babies and kids. There's also a location in the Financial District and Soho.
Zitomer969 Madison Ave., Upper East Side | 212.737.5560
This mega-pharmacy is so large (15,000 square feet, spread across three floors), it’s actually deemed a department store: Sure, you can drop off a prescription, but most people come here to pick up anything from old-fashioned throat lozenges to Mason Pearson hairbrushes to fancy shampoo and lipstick. The prices fit the setting (it’s just a stone’s throw from The Carlyle), but they have the services to match, from quick delivery, to house accounts, to shipping prescriptions to you anywhere in the world. They also have an excellent toy store named Zittles which consumes the entire third floor, carrying old-fashioned favorites like Barbie, Madame Alexander dolls, and a solid selection of dress up clothes.
Makié109 Thompson St., Soho | 212.625.3930
Perfect little cashmere cardigans and sweater dresses, slouchy tunic tops, and floral printed camisoles are typical of the Parisian-inflected kids clothing here. Prices are steep, making this a good option for a special gift.
Norman & Jules158 Seventh Ave., Park Slope | 347.987.3323
This Brooklyn store is among our very favorite toy shops, and for good reason: Just about everything, from the wooden toys, to the hand-sewn cloth dolls, to the musical instruments and craft kits (of which there are many), is intended to ignite a kid’s imagination. And in keeping with their small, sustainable vibe, they feature the work of many small, local Brooklyn designers.
Sweet William85 Kenmare St., Soho | 212.343.7301
While its name might suggest that this shop traffics in frothy pastel pink and blue onesies, the colorful shelves suggest otherwise. Sweet William focuses on small, lesser known labels—Molo, Bobo Choses, boy + girl—that are, in their words, environmentally and ethically responsible. It’s all equal parts chic and adorable, from mohair cardigans and fox-emblazoned backpacks, to metallic lace-ups and psychedelic rabbit sweatshirts. In addition to clothing, they offer plenty of wooden toys from archival brands like Persephere & Trylon, as well as colorful Rouxrou blankets. There's a second location in Brooklyn, as well as an outpost in Los Angeles.
Yoya605 Hudson St., West Village | 646.336.6844
This West Village staple—in business since 2002—offers an artful-meets-streamlined aesthetic, meaning that there’s enough exuberance in the clothing picks to appeal to most kids, while the shapes and silhouettes make parents happy. Whether it’s an Imps & Elfs onesie or a Tutu du Monde swan queen tutu, there’s plenty of cuteness to go around, as well as bedding, toys, and furniture. In fact, owner Cristina Villegas offers design services for kids rooms, opening up her rolodex of unique suppliers from around the world.