Dinosaur Hill

Dinosaur Hill

Photo: Dinosaur Hill

Neighborhood: East Village
Type of Place: Kids

Though the charming toy and clothing shop Dinosaur Hill has occupied its spot on E. 9th St. for 21 years, it's named for an entirely different locale: Owner Pamela Pier grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota, near a hillside park that featured 20-foot-high model dinos of numerous types.

The park was a significant attraction for the young and the young at heart; and likewise, this store's lovely wares span generations in their appeal. Books, games, and puzzles are here in abundance, but the shop specializes in puppets from around the world and in locally made crafts. Jaunty hand-knit children's caps, some created by Dinosaur Hill employee Doris Jelliffe, start at $25. Sweet woolen hand-knit finger puppets in animal designs are $3.50. And each sample in the basket full of "fairy puppets" (among them Rose, Spring, and Sugar Plum) had us oohing and aahing as if we were five again. For grownups, we especially loved the nature-inspired ceramic pins made by teacher and Hill employee Naomi Machado ($17). As we browsed the shelves at Dinosaur Hill, the overheard words of another patron made us smile. "Look," she said, "I always wanted a unicorn just like this when I was a kid! I can get it now, but…why didn't I have it then?" Walking toward the cashier, she shook her head bemusedly: "Something else to bring up in therapy."

Toy unicorn: $27. Reducing your kids' future therapy bills by swinging them by this shop for a toy of their dreams: Priceless. And while you're there, scoop up something your inner child has wanted since way back when.   - Pamela Grossman; 12/04

Dinosaur Hill
306 E. 9th St.
New York, NY 10003