Mary Arnold Toys is a decent sized neighborhood toy shop, the type you used to see much more of in the days before Toys R Us. They carry all the major brands Barbie, Lego etc plus they carry some nice books, costumes and alot of craft kits. The staff are all nice and friendly but they can get jammed up when busy. Of course expect to pay a few dollars more than you would at Toys R Us but if you are in the neighborhood they save you a trip and they carry thought provoking toys you wont find at Toys R Us.
PROS: Good Service, Convenience
CONS: A little more expensive
Manhattan Doll House Shop has a great selection of Dollhouses, kits and other miniature items. My daughter loves this store, they usually have 40 or so fully constructed dollhouses on display. She gets a big kick out of the dolls tiny plates and clothes. The prices seem fair, I've seen similar merchandise priced much higher at a competitiors shop. They have been friendly to my kids which I appreciate and I will continue to shop here a s long as my daughter shows an interest.
Hammacher Schlemmer is an amazing place. Think a gigantic toy store for adults. All sorts of electronic devices and other sundry devices that you never knew you needed until you saw them. A movie thaters popcorn machine or a giant remote controled car or all other sorts of oddball but cool items.
FAO Schwartz is a monstrous fun zone for kids of all ages. From the new ice cream parlor through the baby's shop in the basement this is just a great place to shop. Helpful staff are all over and it seems truckloads of new toys arrive daily making the store an ever changing adventure. They have dolls, action figures, stuffed animals, arts and crafts and thousands of other items. Just a fun fun place to be.
Personally as a parent I hate picking up the tab for my two kids at Cozy's Cuts for Kids. Two kids haircuts with tips think $70+. Then there is a decent selection of toys available so a few impulse purchases later it's up over a hundred. That being said if you have an appointment they get you in your seat at the appointed time. I wish the "Adult" place I get my hair cut was a s efficient. The kids select a DVD they would like to watch and are distracted while there hair is being cut which makes the experience more enjoyable for them and easier for the stylist. My kids have never gottne a bad cut there either, my daughters first haircut was especially nerve racking as she is a natural born fidgeter but they did a nice job and then awarded her her first haircut diploma. I guess if they are $20 a haircut less they would be the greatest place on the planet Earth but wow laying out the $ at the end of a ten minute cut is a bit painful.
PROS: Tremendous Service
CONS: Very Expensive
Located in the West Village my seven year old son loves Classic Toys. They carry new and vintage toys ranging in price from under a dollar to over a thousand. My son likes the lifelike Schleich plastic animals and many of the die cast cars. They have a large inventory of military figures (miniatures) including the Britains and King And Country. This is a neat shop and large enough that it can take awhile to work your way through it.
Luckily kites don't take up a lot of space or The Big City Kite Co would be in a lot of trouble for there space is small but yet they have a great selection of kites. Just three blocks from Central Park they have been loading up New Yorlers with kites for many years. They can give you good, sound, practical advice on kite flying and answer any question cheerfully.
Alphabets is one large impulse purchase. The selves are lined with all sorets of gift items many of them oddball and quirky. Lady pirate action figures, slinkys, nice gift cards all matter of interesting things to look at. An excellent place to buy gifts in the $10 - $25 range. They've always been nice and I've always been able to buy a gift for anyone from children to my grandmother.
If you are a devotee of the Madame Alexander Dolls you must make the trek up to Harlem and check this out. They have a gift shop in there factory where you can purchase the companys dolls. Try to get on there mailing list as they hold sales every once and a while and they deeply discount 50% off being the norm. They also sometimes offer tours and that's a lot of fun so call in advance to see when the next tour is and try to coordinate your trip. An interesting place to visit.
Abracadabra is a store every New Yorker should see at least once. It is a huge emporium full of costumes, ghoulish items and all other sorts of weirdness. Around Halloween the line is long but the rest of the year you can shop away. Need a plastic rat, shrunken head or a pirates ciostume this is the place.