despite thinking that i have explored every nook and cranny on the upper east side for interesting, not crazily priced stores, i was surprised to learn from my friend in silver spring, maryland that i might have missed a special spot. and it’s true. enchanted is a really wonderful toy store full of hand made, well-crafted toys which was founded back in 2004 by the creator of stila jeanine lobel and some fellow parents (cookie magazine did a nice profile).
located along lexington avenue, enchanted has a magical feel with a large tree located behind the counter from which tumble numerous beautiful hand made wool and cloth mobiles making it feel very much like we have entered an enchanted forest (bringing to mind the forest that we have been reading about at home as part of the amazing english faraway tree series). enchanted is full of european wooden toys from such brands as ostheimer, bundspechter, haba and erzi. they also have incredible cotton and wool dolls made by a german artist and stuffed felted dolls that are infinitely squeezable. they also have some lovely larger wooden ships complete with sails — pirates are a recurring theme– as well as noah’s arks and castles.
enchanted also has lots of great art supplies and crafts: stockmar crayons and lyra pencils in all colors, as well as other crafts like modeling beeswax, wool felting and waldorf doll-making supplies. enchanted has many lovely costumes for princes, knights, kings, pirates and feature wooden shields and swords. (for other costume ideas, i would recommend john derain, one of my all-time favorite shops, does have the most amazingly beautiful french children costumes ever but they are really over the top with prices mostly close to $200).
as an added bonus, purchasing toys at enchanted is somewhat guilt-free, as the nonprofit store donates a portion of their profits to a nearby waldorf school rudolf steiner, which has an educational program that emphasizes independent thinking and lots and lots of creative play. if only our local public elementary school would figure out that creativity is good for kids. hmmmm, maybe not in my lifetime. enchanted, 1179 lexington avenue at 80th street, manhattan, new york, 212.288.3383.