NEW YORK: EAT SEE PLAY SHOP SLEEP TIPS OUT OF TOWN

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Hazel Village

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Is there anything sweeter than a little stuffed animal wearing tiny clothes? A staple in the packages I’ve sent friends to help welcome their new babies for some time now, the animal dolls from Brooklyn-based Hazel Village are beyond charming. Lovingly made from organic cotton, they can be hand-embroidered with a name or initials and – here’s where the fun really begins – have a vast wardrobe of clothing and accessories to choose from. Available online or through a number of beautiful retail shops, last summer the company opened its first physical store in Brooklyn. A visit to choose a special new friend is certain to be the highlight of the day (maybe even the trip!) for any child.

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The experience starts by choosing an undressed animal doll (clothed animals are also available). Deer, raccoons, foxes, frogs, rabbits, cats, mice and more are organized in baskets and on shelves, many at child-level, around the perimeter of the store. Once that important decision has been made, you can proceed to the wall display organizing the tiny animal wardrobe. Shirts, pants, dresses, rompers, even hats and tiny shoes: there are so many lovely choices (including some in my favorite Liberty fabrics), and older children will love the experience of dressing their new friend. Once cozily-clad, animals can be left at the shop to have a monogram added before being mailed to your home address. Of course, by this point your child may be too attached to leave their new love behind (speaking from experience!) so happily you can bring the animals back for monograming at any point in the future.

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For new babies I love dressing an animal in one of the rompers or dresses created in collaboration Brooklyn-based design and screen printing company, Winter Water Factory. Paired with a matching romper (or hat, blanket, or gown) for the infant, it makes such a lovely and local gift.


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