Daily 235

Daily 235

Photo: Daily 235

Neighborhood: Chinatown
Type of Place: Gift Shops

On my way to visit Daily 235, I heard joyful-sounding drumming a few blocks away. Seeking the source, I found that the drums were accompanying large paper dragons as--hoisted on poles by revelers--they undulated through the streets of Chinatown in celebration of the Chinese New Year (Year of the Ox).

Similar unexpected pleasures can be found at Daily 235. Well, the shop's way too little for huge paper dragons (or drum bands to accompany them), but you'll find here many instant-mood-lift items that you were not anticipating--and that you may well not have known existed.

Another unexpected plus is that the shop is perfect for Valentine's Day. Male or female, child or grownup--unless your intended Valentine has absolutely no sense of humor or fun, you'll likely find something that will make his or her day.

Wind-up toys are represented in delightful varieties: cute model robots, including a "Venus Robot" ($35) with stars on her skirt and a bow on her head; a wonderful wind-up ice cream vendor (with cart; $20); amusement-park-ride replicas, from $20; and something involving fluffy chicks and twirling colored flowers that made me laugh out loud ($20).

Your Valentine's a big-time "cat person"? Give a playful nudge with a $20 "cat-butt" fridge-magnet set (one extra non-butt magnet is included--it's a hairball!). And if your honey is a typical red-blooded guy, a special box of bubblegum--printed with "I Heart My Penis"--will be a natural addition to your holiday present ($2). (One woman bought this for her husband while I shopped; he accepted it without question.)

Even the "standard" items here are somewhat out of the ordinary. Bracelets (from $10) feature technicolor Jesus and Mary icons; and a shopper beside me rushed to purchase a polka-dotted barrette ($5)--for her cat. (I'm not sure if she saw the cat-butt magnets, but she just might receive them on the 14th from the guy who was with her.)

On the tamer side of things, a board painted with a circus scene, with five hooks attached ($20), will help a child keep clothes off the floor. And if you need an interesting gift for your mom, dad, grandma, etc. and fear that robots or cat butts or penis gum will not quite fit the bill, beautiful Noah Bells (from $25), imported from India, are said to scare away bad spirits.

Happy Year of the Ox (said to be a year in which hard work brings prosperity--sounds good); and a joyful Valentine's Day as well. Daily 235 will help you remember that laughing together is a big part of love.
  - Pamela Grossman; Feb 8, 2009

Daily 235
235 Elizabeth Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 334-9728