Yesterday was my first experience with the downtown wholesale district. I’ve been a pretty keen shopper, going to the jewerly district, flower mart and fabric district for years but this was my first visit to the Toy District.
My brother and I got there early and had a pretty clear mission: he wanted some toys for his kids and favors for his daughter’s third birthday party. It’s a great place to shop for inexpensive plastic goods – some of them are obvious knock offs, but there are excellent values to be found with licensed, good quality import merchandise for Sesame Street, Disney and Nickelodeon characters. I was suprised at the profusion of little tsotchkes, barrettes, keychains, purses – and everything seemed to be priced at $6 a dozen or gross (depending on the packaging). The area is not all toy shops, in fact not a lot of them are soley selling toys. It’s a profusion of different garment shops, toys, hair baubles, shoes, collector dolls, religious items, etc. It’s a great place to pick up wedding favors, giveaways for corporate events or some goofy stocking stuffers for the holidays.
My advice is to get there early and perhaps plan a stop at Cole’s French Dip. But if you’re game for street vendors, there are plenty of places towards the noon hour frying up sausages and satay (and the ubiquitous cut fruit). The only thing I got for myself was a small messenger bag with a retail tag of $25 on it for … get this, $1.50. How could I go wrong?