(Here's a second post from Julia, one of the finalists vying for a blogging position at the upcoming AT:The Nursery. Comment away.)
There are rare treasures to discover in every nook and corner of the modestly sized store called Romp in Park Slope. A large "potholder rug" made entirely of recycled T-shirts and sweaters brightens up a wall. Next to that- a lime and lemon colored giraffe made from vintage wallpaper.
While I played with a walking, wooden hedgehog, a precocious seven-year-old boy politely informed his father that he was not quite ready to leave yet. I watched him happily spin tops and play a miniature accordion with a pensive look on his face. But this store captures the imaginations of children and adults alike. Adults were eager to share their finds with each "Look at this!" "That is unreal." "I love it. It caught my eye immediately!"
On my visit, I was lucky enough to see a new shipment arrive of a most unusual doll from the Netherlands. The Sophie and Naomi dolls are a great example of what makes Romp special. Owner Jenn LaBelle told me, "The fun part for me is seeking stuff that no one else has. There are things in here that literally no one else in the U.S. has." As someone who appreciates classic toys, I have to admit I've been a little wary of the whimsical, modern toy stores popping up in my Brooklyn neighborhood, but at Romp, classic toys also seem new again. One look at a giant box of Colorforms and I could once again feel those colored pieces of vinyl sticking together. There are wooden alphabet blocks and dollhouses, and another object that took me back in time- wooden romper stompers, also known as high steppers. I left Romp feeling refreshed, and in my mind, the sound of those romper stompers clacking across my mom's old kitchen floor.