First things first, I must say - I'm usually very good with directions. This, combined with the Google Maps on my iPhone, made an amazing combination. Only problem was that I had written down the old address for Purl SOHO, my first destination, so I was put way off my travel path. I'm still not sure how it took me so long to realize that I had messed up on the address, considering the fact that I wasn't in SOHO and I was looking for Purl SOHO... I had a dumb moment!
I ended up walking several more miles than I planned, so I'm really tired! Still though, I was intent on walking downtown, since I've not been getting enough exercise lately. I was running 3 times a week before the New York heatwave of death that lasted over a month, so having the first weekend under 90 degrees in weeks meant that I had to walk as much as possible!
Being put off my path and getting slightly lost was a good thing though. I ended up finding a delicious Mexican restaurant called Mary Anne's in the East Village. It got some really horrible review on YELP, which was surprisingly, since I adored it. Amazing burrito, I really liked the salsa dip, and you can't beat $8 for a meal, can you? Then again, I'm not a foodie and I'm not a very picky eater, so...
|I think this is an old photo - it looks much cuter now. Very al fresco, tables outside, super bright!|
Anyway, on to reviewing the shops!
In the heart of the East Village, Toy Tokyo was my first destination on my list of Japanese toy and craft shops to visit. How did it measure up?
Pros - Huge selection of figurines and "blind box" Japanese toys for reasonable prices "Blind Box" toys are collectible toys in which you don't know which collectible you have inside until after you buy! Surprise! I bought an Owlet Blind Box there. I got the owl I wanted. Cute!
|Hoo is taking a photo of me?!|
Cons - The staff was very unfriendly. Holier-than-thou hipsters that act like your asking them a question is obnoxious. I didn't like that very much. I took my owl and left pretty quick. :(
Overall, I guess a rating of 2. It would have been much higher if staff was helpful! At least I got my cute Owlet!
Giant Robot NY is one of three stores in the US run by this Asian Magazine/Store Chain. It's the only Giant Robot on the East Coast. There is one in LA and one in SF, so I was pleased to find out there was one in New York! This store wasn't too far from Toy Tokyo. It was on the other sided of the East Village.
Pros: Walking into the shop, the front is a gallery of various asian themed indie art. Very cool. Walking toward the back is when you see the selection of Japanese crafts and toys. It looks small, but there is a huge selection of so many different things. Ceramic mugs, t-shirts, bags, office supplies, stationary, origami paper, planters, you name it, they had it! Bonus points for having pretty much everything they had listed on their online shop, as well.
|Can't wait to bring this to work!|
It was a really cool shop. Nice and quiet, too. I'm a bit claustrophobic, so I really don't like when I feel surrounded and closed in a shop. They store had a bunch of really cool planters, such as the taterpot and Egglings, for the same price as the store online, except you don't have to pay out of your butt for shipping! Yay! Plus points for the fact that the man running the store was very helpful and cool, without being overbearing. I felt comfortable browsing, and browse I did. For a half hour! I was in heaven.
|Seed refills for my taterpot!|
Cons - Honestly, my only con was the price of certain items. A lot of Japanese craft good are terribly overpriced because of the hype about them. That aside, though, Giant Robot NY was super awesome. Highly recommended. I bet the ones in California are even bigger and better!
|This Shinzi Katoh mug was a little pricy, I couldn't not buy it. It is ADORABLE.|
Pros - Oh my gosh. The photos I posted in the previous blog entry were entirely accurate. This shop is color heaven. It was such a beautiful and bright shop, with lots of happy crafters knitting and sewing away inside.
The staff was extremely helpful. They were so sweet, they even directed me to the subway, because my iPhone ran out of batteries and I couldn't use my GPS hax to find my way to one.
This one isn't relevant to the sewers, but they had an enormous selection of yarn skeins. Lots of bright colors, and it looks like they had all different kinds of textures and types.
The fabric I bought was really beautiful. I bought a yard of Matryoshka Japanese Import fabric, for my Etsy shop's crafts. The picture isn't terribly good, because it was dark by the time I got around to taking these, but you can see how cute it is, regardless! Love the colors and line drawing sketchiness to the designs. :)
Cons - The only two cons I have are the fact that there was less fabric selection that I thought there would be, especially compared to the website, and the fact that the yard of Japanese import fabric ended up being more expensive that I could buy online, even after paying for shipping. Otherwise, purl SOHO was an amazing shop. I'd think it'd be absolute heaven for any crochet/knitting crafters out there.
And finally, my last shop to review...
|I got this really beautiful cotton fabric for only $6! Wowza!|
Imagine a shop in the middle of downtown that makes you feel as if you stepped into Japan. This is Kiteya SOHO. It is located in the heart of New York's "Little Tokyo" block, right near a Japanese speciality market that sold really yummy drinks.
Pros - Super friendly staff. Seriously, they could not have been more helpful and friendly. They rushed over right away and directed me to exactly what I wanted (ie: cotton fabrics)
This shop was so gorgeous and had such a huge selection of Japanese crafts and goods, with a wide range of price points, so that anyone walking in their could find something within their budget.
Bonus points: I actually was able to speak a bit of Japanese while I was here. :) That was fun. I think the staff got a kick out of my really enthusiastic "ARGIATOU GOZAIMASU!!!!! ♥ ♥ ♥"
Cons - I couldn't stay in this shop forever. :(
And that, my friends, is the end! I'm going to play with the goodies I bought now. I'll be sure to post the crafts I make this weekend as soon as possible. I wish you all a wonderful night! ♥