AC Gears

AC Gears


Neighborhood: East Village
Type of Place: Tech Toys


The world's sweeping love affair with electronics can generate some odd scenarios. We tap away at Blackberries at the dinner table; we have internet buddies we've never actually met; it's not uncommon to see two people walking down the street "together" while each is talking (to someone else, presumably!) on a cell phone.

But the wired-gadget age seems set to stick around for a while--and to help us navigate it with some humor and whimsy is AC Gears. The shop sells tech-related toys and gizmos that might make even a diehard technophobe crack a smile.

An especially popular item is the Banpresto Facebank ($35.99), a coin bank with sensors for eyes and a mouth that moves to "eat" the change you offer. Tomy's Sunny Nohohon ($25.99) are solar-powered toys that might best be described as bald bobbleheads; they gently tilt their heads from side to side in a friendly sort of way. Another addition to the "gadget-buddy" catalogue is Mr. Jones's "Tengu" ($59.99), a USB-powered device that lip syncs to the music or to your own voice and is meant to keep you company during your time at the computer. (There's also a USB-powered humping dog for $15.99, if that's more your speed.)

Wish you could take your pet to the office? Or that you weren't too allergic to have one? Options are now available. The battery-operated "Dream Cat" from Segatoys ($150, available in white; other colors coming) purrs, meows, moves its head, and lies down. The shop's model is named Lucy, and though she gets lots of attention all day, it's honestly a little hard not to worry that she'll be lonely spending nights alone there (maybe an employee takes her home?). There's also a "Dream Chick" ($35.99) that flaps its wings and chirps, perpetually in sweet-little-chick size and shape; no more having to figure out what to do when your baby chick grows up. And Tomy Bird Lovers Club Chirping Bird ($19.99) is a handsome, chirping specimen that will sing at any time, with no need for binoculars, early rising, or schlepping through marshy brush. For those who want Mom's voice in the morning without, you know, Mom, there's the Thanko Retro MP3 alarm clock ($39.99). Connect the clock to your computer and, when the appointed time comes, instead of a jarring ring or buzz you'll get a customized sound of your choosing--a song snippet, ocean waves, or, yes, dear Mom saying "Time to get up, my love."

Music to your ears? These will be, too: Elecom's rhinestone heart earphones ($45.99, in 3 color combos), M&M-like colored-disc earphones ($35.99), and white earphones shaped like roses ($49.99). Why go with plain old earbuds, the thinking goes, when you've got the chance to make a fashion statement?

It's a brave new world, for sure. But you don't have to face it alone; Lucy the Dream Cat, for instance, will remain purring by your side, for as long as she's got working batteries.

  - Pamela Grossman; Feb 25, 2008

AC Gears
69 E 8th St
New York, NY 10003