Perhaps when your kids were babies you only gave them hand made wooden toys and never bought them anything with a character on it, but once you send your kids to school, all bets are off. All of a sudden status is measured by how much brightly colored plastic you have in your room, hanging from your backpack and printed on your T-Shirts.
And for kids these days, especially the boys, Pokemon branded plastic seems to be the most treasured. But the Pokemon empire extends far beyond the world of adorable plastic figures, there's cards, video games and stuffed animals to collect also. My kids can't get enough of any of it.
Luckily we live not too far from the Pokemon nexus at the Nintendo World Store in Rockefeller Center where just recently we went to the game launch of the new Pokemon DS game, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky. The Nintendo store hosts these free events frequently and little junkies can get their pictures taken with giant Pikachus, play the games in the store, and win prizes.
The Nintendo World Store is also one of the few places in New York City where you can load up on Pokemon character figures, cards, games and other branded bling. I've actually been surprised how hard it is to score Pokemon stuff considering how popular it is. Most of the toy stores in Manhattan cater to our higher aspirations as parents and finding a humble plastic toy can be quite a challenge. I guess Pokemon takes their tag line seriously when they say you gotta catch em all, because finding Pokemon paraphernalia in New York City can be quite an adventure.
Having been around the block on this one, quite literally, I thought I'd share what I know about finding Pokemon stuff in New York:
Nintendo World Store in Rockefeller Center
I already mentioned the Nintendo World Store in Rockefeller Center. You'll find lots of figurines and some stuffed animals, T-Shirts and, of course, the video games there. You can't buy Polemon card booster packs there, but they do sell the larger card box sets. The Nintendo Store also has frequent game events which are free.
Toys R Us in Times Square
Toys R Us has a small selection of Pokemon figures, cards, stuffed animals and Pokeballs.
121 2nd Avenue, 2nd Fl, East Village, Manhattan usually has a couple of Pokemon things, not a lot, but the rest of the store is so fun and filled with cool Japanese toys it may still be worth a trip.
Outside of Manhattan, Target is a pretty reliable source for Pokemon stuff at good prices from card packs to toys to party supplies.
I always have this idea that there's some cool store in Chinatown that's like down these steps and inside is a treasure trove of Pokemon stuff (right next to the gremlins), preferably at dirt cheap prices. Maybe I just haven't found the right set of stairs, but I've ventured down quite a few and I've never found that store. What I do know is you can sometimes find someone in Chinatown selling Pokemon cards on the street for $1 a pack rather than $3 as you'll find in most stores. But it's hit or miss if you'll find someone the day you go and sometimes you can find Pokemon stuff in the small toy shops, but, again, hit or miss.
Oddly, yes, you can get packs of Pokemon cards at Duane Reade, but, just like the candy, it's marked up.
Where do you get your Pokemon stuff? Share your tips with us.