Holiday Shopping, New York City

Funky Shopping

By Yuka Hachiuma

Before I could start wondering why everyone insisted on staying on Broadway and fighting the crowds, I saw a store window crammed with colorful furnishing that evoked episodes of the Jetsons. Yet another miniscule space fronting as a store, A+J 20th Century Designs is packed with furniture seemingly dug up from people's basements, Salvation Army stores, or garage sales. The merchandise sold here could definitely furnish a space-age bachelor pad. Or, as my enlisted shopping buddy noted, "my mom owns half the stuff in this place!" According to him, his mom was quite the cool cat in the sixties and therefore had many of the items, such as the chrome floor lamp, vases, and bowls that were huddled together in this tiny space. I especially liked a silver Panasonic TV from the fifties and sixties that looks like a martian head. But, a warning to the wallet weary, you will need a bundle of cash to buy these retro lounge items.

After dropping in to numerous petite boutiques lining Lafayette, I braved the trek through the heart of SoHo in order to check out Moss. I've read about this modernist ode to household items in many a magazine, nonetheless I had yet to visit the store. It was well worth the trip. The simplistic logo stenciled on the store window heralds a decided bent towards clean lines and innovative designs. The merchandise, mainly household products, is displayed in glass cases betraying the designers' approach to each item as a work of art. Although the "do not touch" feeling of the displays makes the salt and pepper shakers and tea pots seem a bit too precious, I was won over by the creativity of the designs. I bought a blue "Diabolix" bottle opener (a little smiling devil whose jagged teeth serve as the opener) with an acrylic handle shaped to slip into the folds of your hand. This is for my co-worker who complains about the amount of beer bottles she has to drag to the curb each recycling day. I have a feeling it will be put to good use. And in case you've been searching, this is where you can buy the Fisher space pen that writes upside down, underwater, on grease, or any other precarious situation in which you need to write something down.

Walking north towards the Village, I noticed a drastic reduction of frenzied holiday shoppers. Happy to have left them behind, I made my way to Mxyplyzyk, the store that my friend claims "must be too cool to use vowels or something." I must have stepped into the middle of an attempt to break the store record of how many people can be squeezed into this already too-small store. I ended up spending quite a lot of time in this store, but not because of my own volition. I just could not get out. In the meantime, I did enjoy a peek here and there at their mostly chrome household accessories. The section dedicated to pets made me want a dog, for lack of any good cat items (sorry, Cleo). This store carries items in line with those at Moss, but they do not benefit from the large space that Moss commands. However, you will probably find a more reasonably priced gift here. Numerous stationery goods, bath accessories, and office products for hip professionals makes Mxyplyzyk a great stop for anyone buying a gift for a design-minded individual.