Founded by a local mom and native New Yorker, PiccoliNY sparks creativity in kids and adults alike with their cute gifts and wares.
“Piccolini” means “small ones” in Italian—so it’s fitting that the word inspired the name of Downtown’s most adorable toy store for NYC’s littlest shoppers, PiccoliNY, which sits right on the invisible line between Little Italy and Chinatown.
“We spell it ‘P-i-c-c-o-l-i-N-Y,’ versus with an ‘i’ at the end,” explains the store’s founder and creative director, Alex Zagami Ng, a new mom with a 17-month-old son. “It’s a play on words—we think of it as ‘a little New York.’”
Zagami Ng’s definition is apt—in addition to being a treasure trove of delights for pint-sized New Yorkers (from baby through elementary school-age), the Mott Street store also serves as a flagship for Zagami Ng’s own PiccoliNY line, which includes onesies, tees, hats, and totes emblazoned with playful takes on the I Heart NY graphic (think hot dogs or lo mein for the “I,” and pretzels or pizza slices for the heart) that Zagami Ng had drawn by her cousin-in-law, a cartoonist for Adult Swim. She started her own line after being in business only a few months—the Feast of San Gennaro was coming up and she was in search of a city-centric hook to attract customers during the street fair. It was a big hit, and soon after, Zagami Ng started working with the Tory Burch Foundation to take the line to the next level.
“Once we saw that [the PiccoliNY items] were selling out and people were reacting to it, that’s when I knew I was on to something. And that’s when my mentors at the Tory Burch Foundation came in,” she recalls. “They upped the quality for me so much, and here we are eight years later—we’re wholesaling it to other shops, and it’s made my store a global destination.”
The made-in-NYC ethos of Zagami Ng’s own brand, coupled with the small neighborhood feel of the store—which originally opened in 2011 on Mulberry Street—has made it a must for both native New Yorkers and tourists alike.