Tooth and Claw (Creature Comforts in the East Village)

Gama Go, Button, Toy Tokyo, New York

If I had a big pile of money, I think I’d like to own a nice apartment in the East Village, or maybe on the Lower East Side. Something with a whole bedroom, a walk-in closet, and enough space to finally take my shoes, my Samsung, and my collection of wind-up robots out of storage.  With view of the avenue, and a cozy bar around the corner where everybody knows my name.

(Yadda deedle deedle deedle deedle dum…right?)

That’s my fantasy of New York on a good day.

On a bad day, this city makes you want to grow spines.  Produce fangs, fur, and claws.  Retreat into the wild (or at least upstate for the weekend) and howl at the moon in a mournfully urgent appeal for survival.

(After nearly six solid months of moving and travel, I am getting tired.  Exhausted from life as a subletting transient, I would very much like to settle down, make a nest, sign a lease.  Most days, I would give my eyeteeth for a more domestic existence.)

In the meantime, however, I have simply decided to make do by contenting myself with the little things; for instance, $20 worth of glorious tchotchkes, knickknacks, and whats-its from Toy Tokyo (an eye-popping emporium of toys, action figures, Japanese vinyl, and other geek-chic goodies located in the beating heart of the East Village on E. 5th & 2nd Ave).

It’s the kind of place that makes you feel more optimistic about life just by walking in the door, and the kind of strange, singular, cult-classic establishment that makes this neighborhood (insofar as I’m concerned) one of the very best neighborhoods on the whole goddamned planet.

Toy Tokyo, New York, Collectables, Japanese Toys, Geek, Geek Chic

As you might imagine, I’m not yet in the market for large-scale investment pieces (it’s difficult to justify dropping $200 on that Godzilla sculpture when you’re saving for first, last, and security, not to mention regular Brazilian waxes, Pilates classes, and dye jobs);  that said, I couldn’t resist bringing home my adorable little green buddy here, who – once ensconced on my dressing table – successfully managed to make the vacuous space of my brownstone sublet seem much less dismal.

My most sentimental purchase of all, however, has to be my Gama-Go “Booze Yeti” button (pictured above, atop a pile of British VOGUES), which has come to serve as a profound reminder of that warm and welcoming camaraderie you can only really find by sharing a pint in the company of old friends – the type of friends who are often in short supply when you migrate into unfamiliar territory.

Ah well; adaptable beasts we are at the end of the day, though the need for creature comforts is only human.  Cheers to you, my friends; much like our menagerie here, may all your troubles be little ones.

Toy Tokyo: 91 2nd Ave. (between 5th & 6th), New York, NY 10003; (212) 673-5424

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