You’d never guess the owner of this totally Asian toys and tchotchkes mecca is actually a Jewish dude named Israel Levarek. He sold his 20-year-old Batman figurine collection in 1999 to one year later open this store, which houses dizzying displays of memorabilia—half of which is from Japan. The shop was designed to mimic similar stores in the Land of the Rising Sun, with bright lights, crammed arrangements and goods displayed in plastic bins. Jazz up your pad with three-foot-tall collectible plastic bears modeled after pop-culture icons like Mickey Mouse, Iron Man and SpongeBob ($300–$400), or a smaller version for as little as $50. Snuggle up with quirky bubblegum-pink Gloomy Bear stuffed animals ($8–$35), squishable versions of graphic artist Mori Chack’s iconic Japanese character, whose bloody paws are a result of attacking its owner in the name of animal rights. Nostalgic dudes will flip when they see the wall of clear cases housing hundreds of Godzilla figurines ($15–$200), as well as kaiju models of various Japanese monsters ($30–$120). And yes, there’s something for girly girls, too: Pretty Blythe dolls with oversize heads (picture Barbie with a tennis-ball-size face) were taken off the market in the ’50s for scaring children, but the toys were brought back in the ’90s ($150–$250) and are sold with voguish outfit separates, such as Jackie O–like colorful sunglasses ($20) and belted tube dresses ($20–$30).
|Venue name:||Toy Tokyo||Contact:|
91 Second Ave
|Cross street:||between Fifth and Sixth Sts|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu, Sun 1-9pm; Fri, Sat 12:30pm-9pm|
|Transport:||Subway: N, R to 8th St–NYU; 6 to Astor Pl|
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