A martini is a terrible thing to waste.

Toys R Us.


Dec 22, 2009 49 Comments

I just started my Christmas shopping tonight, and I have a niece and a nephew, so I decided to go to Toys R Us to buy them some toys.  Giraffe Sick

When I was growing up, we didn’t have a Toys R Us in Utica.  But somehow, and it was definitely the devil’s work, we were forced to watch Toys R Us commercials on the TV when we were little, even though we didn’t know how to get to one.  The place  looked like heaven.  All those TOYS, in one building.  It seemed like Santa’s workshop here on earth, just not in Utica, and with giraffes.  I remember thinking, “Some day.  Some day I will walk into this Toys R Us place and I will buy myself a toy.”

(We also never had Carvel Ice Cream.  And to this day, if I even think about that guy’s voice who narrates those commercials I start to salivate for cookie puss ice cream cakes I’ve never tried.)

Anyway, I go into Toys R Us today to buy some toys for the kids, and I can not believe what a dump that place is.  It was like, totally depressing.  The lighting is horrible.  The toys are all over the place.  It looks like it hasn’t been renovated since I was 8 years old.   There’s just no spirit in there.  It wasn’t even decorated for friggin Christmas.

Maybe they’re taking a hit in this economy and everyone is buying all their stuff at Wal Mart, but still, someone could have put up some lights or something.  Or maybe swept.  I’m not sure if they even realize their “R” is backwards.

Anyway, are there any local toy stores, either around Albany or in NYC, that aren’t big chain stores?  There was a place called the Village Toy Shop in Utica, NY that was so great.  I wish we had a place like that around here.


  • Bert Gnidica
    Dec 22, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Matt…try The Toy Maker in Stuyvesant Plaza

  • DB
    Dec 22, 2009 at 1:06 am

    have you seen the “temporary” toys r us stores? they are even worse. They set up shop in these run down buildings just for the christmas season and then shut down after the new year. i made the mistake going into one once and have been scared for life.

  • ashallann
    Dec 22, 2009 at 2:01 am

    Toys R Us has been slightly depressing for awhile. I believe there’s a store in Stuyvesant Plaza called The Toy maker…I don’t think it’s a chain. It’ll be more expensive, but a happier experience.

  • Mouse
    Dec 22, 2009 at 2:15 am

    There is a really nice toy store at Stuyvesant Plaza. I can’t think of the name – I went in once for my own amusement but my sister would cry if I ever spent SP prices on her kids. Out of my league but probably up your alley. That whole mall has the holiday spirit and yeah, know what you mean about Toys R Us.

  • KateM
    Dec 22, 2009 at 6:21 am

    There is a small toy store in Stuyvesant Plaza near Provence. I think it’s called The Toy Maker. It’s very cute and small, but they have a decent selection of toys.

  • Christy
    Dec 22, 2009 at 6:35 am

    The Spinning Seed, Troy, NY http://www.thespinningseed.com/

    There has got to be a toy store in Saratoga, I’m just not aware of it. Other than that, we are out of luck.

  • craig
    Dec 22, 2009 at 6:58 am

    There is a great toy store in Stuyvesant Plaza. I shop there for all my gifts for children.


  • Jessica R
    Dec 22, 2009 at 7:09 am

    NYC = FAO Schwartz!
    In Colonie, in the Kohl’s plaza on Central, there is a really great hobby shop that you would probably find great gifts in! They have stuff like crafts and kites and science stuff, so it’s not just model-building stuff.

  • MKF
    Dec 22, 2009 at 7:15 am

    Nothing is better than the Toy Maker in Stuyvesant Plaza. You must go.

  • mb
    Dec 22, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Hi Matt,

    The Parent Teacher Store in Latham, in a little strip mall right on the circle has the greatest stuff. If your niece and nephew are into games, they have a great selection, outside of the standards. Ravensburger games are my favorite, fun, educational and the graphics are beautiful.

    The Toy Maker in Stuyvesant is good, more for younger kids, and a bit expensive on some things.

    In Clifton Country Mall there is a small store with toys called Ta-Da, some great interesting gifts.

    Amazon.com, one day shipping.

    Merry Christmas (wishing the best that my holiday season brings).


  • Erik the Beer Guy
    Dec 22, 2009 at 7:21 am

    Hey Matt, Try the “Parent-Teacher Store” in Latham. It is on the South-West side of the circle in a little strip mall (next to the old Vanilla Bean). They have a good assortment of fun and educational toys games plus I believe they are locally owned. Friendly staff and I think they hung some decorations and lights.
    Check them out.

  • The Original Mike
    Dec 22, 2009 at 7:33 am

    There used to be one in Newton Plaza and one in Stuyvesant, I don’t believe they are there anymore. Nice little shops with higher quality toys.

  • Lauren
    Dec 22, 2009 at 7:47 am

    There are small toy and hobby shops around the area. I don’t know of any large nice non-chain toy stores though. It’s too bad.

  • Go Phish
    Dec 22, 2009 at 7:48 am

    The ones around here are pretty crappy.

    But have you been to the one in Times Square? Now THAT’S a toy store. It’s gotta be a madhouse around this time of year, but it gives FAO Schwartz a run for its money.

    I can’t really think of any other big toy stores around here… when I think back to my childhood I remember Dwayne’s Toyland, but that closed a long time ago.

  • Wendy
    Dec 22, 2009 at 7:55 am

    I would recommend New York Toy & Hobby or Ta-Da! in Clifton Park Center or The Toy Maker in Stuy Plaza.

  • G-Dawg
    Dec 22, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Matt, there is a toy store in Stuyvesant Plaza that may have some unique items. Back in the day when I was younger the other place in the ares was Duanes Toyland, that was an awsome place to get toys but sadly it to has gone the way of Walmart and Target and Kmart. Hope you got a good start on your shopping. Oh and “M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S” Matt ! ! !

  • Laura S
    Dec 22, 2009 at 8:16 am

    There’s the toy shop in Stuyvesant Plaza. Also I don’t know how old your neice and nephew are, but I do all my shopping for my godson (who’s 2) at Barnes and Noble. Thomas trains, and a good book, How can you go wrong?

  • the Original Colleen
    Dec 22, 2009 at 8:22 am

    The Toy Maker in Stuyvesant Plaza on Western Avenue in Albany. Here’s the best I could do for a website: http://www.stuyvesantplaza.com/child_fashion_toys.html

  • Carolyn
    Dec 22, 2009 at 8:35 am

    The Toy Maker is Stuyvesant Plaza is pretty great. Lots of throwbacks and other interesting stuff.

  • pj
    Dec 22, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Everyone that works in Toys r Us looks like they are on parole! Its a scary place.

  • Katherine
    Dec 22, 2009 at 8:52 am

    There is a small toy shop called the Lime Gazelle in Greenville. It is beautiful and has such nice toys. Not the crap at Toys R Us. I have to little kids and I did not step foot in Toys R Us this year. It is a horrible store.

  • Ali
    Dec 22, 2009 at 9:05 am

    G. Willikers in Saratoga is a great toy store; lots of unique toys, great atmosphere and excellent Christmas displays in the windows.

  • tpal
    Dec 22, 2009 at 9:13 am

    The Toy Maker in Stuyvesant Plaza is nice. There’s also G. Willikers in Saratoga.

  • Randy
    Dec 22, 2009 at 9:13 am

    styvesant (sp) plaza there is a toy store that is not a nat’l chain. i forget the name of the place though. they specialize in the toys you cannot get at the box stores like evilmart or toy r us.

  • Andy R.
    Dec 22, 2009 at 9:27 am

    The Toy Maker in Stuyvesant Plaza is local and has been around for a while. Toys R Us in Times Square (though not local) is huge and really cool, like the commercials (definitely take a xanax before going though).

  • Jen
    Dec 22, 2009 at 9:30 am

    I’m sorry, I don’t have names, but there is a small toy shop next to iSmile in Colonie Center and I saw a toy shop in Clifton Commons. I have never been in either one though.

    And I completely agree about the state of Toys R Us.

  • A.L.
    Dec 22, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Space Kiddets on 22nd between Park ave and Broadway is excellent. They have groovy toys as well as a clothing selection (blah! who wants clothes for x-mas?!).

  • MMmmmm Beer…
    Dec 22, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Matt, has anyone told you about the Toymaker in Stuyvesant Plaza??? LOL.

  • MMmmmm Beer…
    Dec 22, 2009 at 10:30 am

    btw…..MMmmmmerry Christmas.

  • Robin
    Dec 22, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Now, if only there was a decent toy store in Stuyvesant Plaza…. :)

  • Sharon
    Dec 22, 2009 at 10:51 am

    The Spinning Seed in Troy has organic and non-toxic toys… check them out! There’s a parking lot right across the street from the store front! Open on Saturday and Sunday too! 272 River Street….

  • Susie B.
    Dec 22, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Try “I Love Books” in Delmar – don’t be fooled, they have a fantastic toy section along with books etc. The toys they sell are not found in the big chain toy stores and always get rave reviews at birthday parties my daughter attends. Plus, they gift wrap for free!

  • Jerky
    Dec 22, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Susie B. is right-on! (and also a hottie)

  • BARV
    Dec 22, 2009 at 11:29 am

    I Love Books is a great little store. Then you can stop by Swifty’s for a beer! =)

  • Sarah Joy
    Dec 22, 2009 at 11:49 am

    I don’t like toys or kids but I feel like I need to get to the Toymaker in Sty Plaza asap!! – geesh do they have margaritas??

  • Dolan
    Dec 22, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    There’s a small toy store on North Moore across from Brandy Library. Really unique and kind of expensive, but no other kids will have toys from there.

  • Rich
    Dec 22, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    http://www.gwillikerstoys.com, head up to Saratoga! Great selection of unique toys!

  • Jacky
    Dec 22, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Little Bookhouse of Stuyvesant Plaa = books, toys, helpful staff, do it!

  • Emily
    Dec 22, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Clifton Park Center has a few toy/hobby shops. I love the toy store in stuyvesant plaza and the parent-teacher store in latham as well. There is also a model train store in schenectady that looks cool but I’ve never gone in. I’m also a fan of books for kids, so I got to borders, the little book house, or barnes and nobles for kid gifts. Pearl Grant Richman in Stuyvesant has little nifty toys but they are more adult toys (like chucking chickens or a blow up boss toy)

  • vdub
    Dec 22, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    I thought there was a Toys R Us on Commercial Drive in New Hartford when we were chil’ren?? Maybe not. Village Toy Shop was great. There is a place in Williamstown that is similar.

  • MD
    Dec 22, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Ha! “their

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  • kerosena
    Dec 22, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Ugh, I went to Toys R Us last year. I asked an employee if they had hula hoops. She was unfamiliar with the hula hoop. True story.

    I also saw way more single, creepy, adult males there than one would expect.

  • Dana
    Dec 22, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    I was going to say try the Toy Maker, but I think you got that memo. Toys R Us in Times Square is fun!

  • Elizabeth
    Dec 23, 2009 at 9:01 am

    I love The Toy Maker in Stuyvesant Plaza. They have quality toys and really know their stuff.

  • Laura
    Dec 23, 2009 at 9:20 am

    I’d say toy maker in Stuyvesant plaza.

    But I will say if you can stomach the rude employees at parent teacher store, go for it. But, I don’t send anyone there because of the employees….seriously obnoxious.

  • The Goose of Christmas Present
    Dec 23, 2009 at 1:54 pm


    Just give them cash and disco fries.

  • Kevinkpo
    Dec 26, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Couple points of interest — the Toy Maker in Stuyvesant and G. Willikers toy store in Saratoga are both unique and wonderful toy stores owned by the same person. Linda (the owner) is a wonderful person, someone you should get to know Matt! Also, depressing as it may be, F A O Schwarz is now owned by Toys R Us — they bought it out last May, 2009. There goes the neighborhood as they say!

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