463 Court St., Carroll Gardens (above Frankie's Spuntino)
loot is a minimal-design-meets-maximum-inspiration museum, shop, and library of over 3,000 titles that kids can purchase or borrow. Loot also offers a monthly membership that lets kids borrow titles, plus take part in the shop’s art classes and workshops, all while meeting other kids who share their interests.
Sweet William (Closed)
324 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg
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. The original location is in Soho, and there's now an outpost in Los Angeles, too.
Norman & Jules
158 Seventh Ave., Park Slope
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.
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Dumbo
Originally installed in 1922 in Youngstown, Ohio, Jane and David Walentas bought the dilapidated carousel at auction in the 80s, before turning their attention to meticulously restoring it (Jane went so far as to scrape the layers of paint off with an Exacto knife, so she could color-match the artist’s original intentions). The carousel and its 48 horses are pristine now, and housed in a fitting all-glass, Jean Nouvel-designed pavilion. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of green space nearby to make a full day out of it.
575 Degraw St., Gowanus
Catering to serious climbers and novices alike, this massive, technicolored climbing space in Gowanus hosts casual climb sessions, lessons for kids, and serious team training. With several walls, it’s roomy enough to accommodate larger groups and families. It’s a great resource in the winter, when it’s far too cold to exercise outdoors. Also, they're open until midnight.
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