Photo: Priroda

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
Type of Place: Gift Shops

We stumbled upon Priroda a few weeks ago and made a note to come back,
as both a writer and a shopper, as soon as time allowed. We looked
forward to exploring its inviting wooden toys and other interesting
hand-crafted wares. But alas--when we returned, we were greeted by "Going out
of business" signs in the window and learned that the shop is falling
victim to the ever-escalating downtown rents blighting so many
businesses. Hopefully, Priroda will experience the happy ending of relocation
(as Cheap Jack's finally did, though the store is no longer downtown). In
the meantime, get there while you can.

We loved the wooden toys and figurines (currently from $8) and
painted-wood puzzles (currently from $13), which brought to mind an earlier era
when even playthings were made by hand, from organic materials, and
built to last. The cotton stuffed animals (currently from $30) are great
too, in cute striped or plaid prints and colored with non-toxic dyes.

For grownups, there are hats, bags, necklaces, earrings, and rings, of
many varieties and materials and in a broad price range (though most
are quite affordable).

Best of all were the wooden "moving toys" (currently from $14)--a
gymnast flipping on a bar, a tumbler gracefully descending a ladder, a
rollercoaster zigzagging down an incline--that had the adults in the store
calling to each other to come look. They'd make a charming addition to
any kid's holiday--but from what we saw, they'd be highly prized by most
adults as well.

AND ANOTHER THING...If you've got any great ideas about where Priroda
might look to relocate, feel free to suggest them to the staff. The
store owners are looking for new spot--and the shop surely deserves one.

  - Pamela Grossman; November 29, 2005

172 West 4th St. (betw. 6th and 7th)
New York, NY 10014