No more breaking your back running all over town picking up Christmas gifts, in between getting carpal tunnel by clicking on dozens of sites to order stuff online. Those days are as gone as last year's stash of eggnog. Nowadays, you simply go to
Flying Tiger holding a wad of cash (they don't accept American Express) and nab the entire haul in one fell swoop. I actually went to the Danish store -- full of cleverly designed, cheap household and office items -- on Labor Day weekend and got all my shopping done in one fun bout of buying! All that needs to be done now is some wrapping and giving!
The things they have at Flying Tiger (920-Broadway between 20th and 21st Streets) are just so delightful in their brash appeal that the store's opening earlier this year truly changed the purchasing landscape. Picture Urban Outfitters' gift section but way less expensive, crossed with a 99 cent store, but way more upscale. At Flying Tiger, the placemats are festive, the lunch boxes are adorable, and everything's so damned useful. A small heart-shaped alarm clock is a mere five bucks, and it comes in red or purple. A wall clock adorned with large paper clips costs eight. For just seven bucks, there's a cactus–shaped jewelry holder that's prickly perfection. And there's an Ipad sleeve with a great rustic design, also for seven.
Flying Tiger carries great bottle openers shaped like musclemen and sexpots, and they're only three freaking bucks. There are also plastic shoe covers, serving bowls with faces on them, elephant-shaped tape dispensers, and chi-chi looking nail files. My favorite item of all is a babushka-shaped dish pan -- a real doll -- for four dollars, and you can use it! I've bought scads of them for everyone I know!
Want some items for playtime? They sell party eyeglasses (some shaped like large picture frames) and party wigs in different zany colors. Want to improve yourself? There are wellness balls for two dollars and a large "gym ball with pump" for 10!
If you ride a bike -- and everyone and their mother does these days -- you must get the animal-face seat cover for $5, the strawberry bell for $3, and the spiral bike lock for $4. (These prices top those in any bike store I've been to by a long shot, by the way.) They also have terrific necklaces, derriere pillows, patterned plates, and tiny cheese graters, all for a pittance. And just in time for the holiday, they have musical Christmas trees, darling little elf dolls, and jingling rainbow ears, for practically no money at all.
Sometimes, a favorite item of mine won't be there anymore, either because it sold out or they discontinued it. In the former case, workers are usually willing to go in the back and see if there are any more in stock. In the latter case, you have to get over yourself and realize that there's so much great stuff here that you can't fret over one lost kitchen magnet. And items have been known to magically come back, by popular demand, so hold onto your hope.
The place attracts a lot of Europeans and the mood is upbeat, with easy access and friendly service. They've yet to realize what a goldmine they've got on their hands and cash in on that by quadrupling the prices, so now's a great time to go and load up. And by the way, once you get to checkout, you come across the best buy of all. For four dollars, you can get yourself a fabulous plastic handbag with a picture of a handbag on it -- and a chihuahua popping out of the bag-within-a-bag. It's so meta and so cheap that, like everything else in this store, it screams, "Must have!" Happy holidays.