Day-Trippin' @ Toy Tokyo


As it's name implies, Toy Tokyo offers a staggering amount of Japanese toys. Focused mainly on models and blind packs, I was very impressed with their collection. A lot of what I saw I never even knew existed. I saw a blind pack for The Impossibles, for instance. Yes the old Hanna Barbera cartoon. Some other trinkets were so odd and unique I've already forgotten what they were.

The outlet might be a little cozy, few might even call it cramped; but exploring it all will take longer than you think. The aisles are packed leaving only enough elbow room. And the shelves are heavily populated with plastic little people. But when I finally left the store, I found the moon had already clocked in for the night.

In some ways Toy Tokyo resembles a museum. Each area with it's own theme, figures meticulously posed under glass, the past and the present coming together. And it's clean! I don't know how they manage this but I have my theories. Air purifiers? Ionizers perhaps? Force fields? I can't imagine this cleanliness is the direct result of actual cleaning. Cleanliness aside, there's one special difference between Toy Tokyo and a museum; the art is for sale.

And speaking of art, you'll find a healthy selection of urban vinyl. Also called designer toys, urban vinyl raises the bar for art expression. These "toys" spawn from the minds of talented artists the globe over. You've never seen creatures and humanoids like this before. Some pretty; most ugly; I often find myself staring in wonder. Urban vinyl really does attract the eye. It's like the very best of graffiti art brought to life. If you see something you like, buy it; they're all produced in limited quantities. You might find the same model in another store but it might be painted differently.

Toy Tokyo is also home to retro toys. It's difficult not to lose yourself in the nostalgia. Some toys, like the tin robots, were most assuredly several centuries old. It took a while for me to stop exclaiming, "Oh my God, I remember these," when I saw something from my childhood. And if I wasn't so misbehaved, I'd probably still have those toys. Yeah, I'm one of those kids whose mothers would punish them by pouring their toys into a garbage bag. I lost more Ninja Turtles that way.

Toy Tokyo is to be experienced. No amount of reading will compare to the joy of being there. Toy Tokyo is 360 degrees of awesome and implore you to stop by and look around. Something about your head on a swivel, etc.

121 2nd Avenue
2nd Floor
New York NY 10003
(212) 673-5424

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