Koh's Kids

Koh's Kids

Photo: Pamela Grossman

Neighborhood: Tribeca
Type of Place: Kids Women's Clothing

On a recent rainy Sunday (yeah, I know—what else is new?), my spirits were brightened a bit by a the window of a little children's-wear shop in Tribeca. It looked...real. Not mall-like or insanely overpriced, but friendly, the kind of place that could become a family tradition.

I duck in, and—bingo. The store has been in this location for 20 years. Mrs. Koh, who's right there running things, tells me of previously-pint-size customers who now come to visit when they're home on college break. She recognizes a toddler named Joe (with a glorious halo of curls) when he comes in from the rain with his mom, who's buying a gift for a baby shower.

I start with a sale rack filled with dresses and love a gold number with brown polkadots and a brown sash (now $89, was $139). If you know now that your little girl has a formal event coming up in the fall, this would be a good bet. On the other hand, a pink-and-red tiered sundress with a floral pattern (now $59, was $109) is perfect for spring and summer parties. ("When can I fly?" I hear Joe ask his mom as I take notes.)

I move on to t-shirts and love many: a pink model printed with a girl in a big, flowerlike skirt ($33); a peach floral style with a flower at the shoulder ($39); a cream shirt featuring a running bunny ($29); and a blue shirt with a dark blue horse and a cowboy with a lasso ($35). Perhaps my favorite of all is an orange shirt featuring a surfer ($15, on sale from $26): a fun color and design, easily right for a boy or girl, and right now very affordable. (Joe, not much of a shopper, asks his mom if he can leave. "You can leave with me in a minute when we are done," she answers.)

I admire a shirt and bikini set from Banana Cabana ($55), cute leggings ($19), and pink sequinned slippers ($48, also in red). I'm moving on to look at the sale on girls' pants when..."Joe!" Alas, Joe cannot contain his desire to run and has picked this moment to bolt from the store and start trotting down the street. When his mom retrieves him, he's confined to his stroller, which does not make him happy. But Mrs. Koh is unfazed. She rumples Joe's hair and tells him he has to stay with Momma. He calms down and even seems to start napping. No wonder kids come back to visit this shop years later.

There are also some toys here—puzzles and stuffed animals, mostly—and some sweet barrettes. But as lovely as the stock is, the low-key, local vibe is the biggest reason to come. Even kids need a place to go "where everybody knows your name"—and understands that even if you run when you shouldn't, you're a good kid after all.   - Pamela Grossman; April 2, 2010

Koh's Kids
311 Greenwich St (nr Chambers)
New York, NY 10013
(212) 791-6915