There's light at the end of the molded-plastic tunnel. Across the country, new stores are championing high style for the stroller set. The latest is Manhattan's Kid O (123 W. 10th St.; 212/366-5436;, a gallery showcasing toys chosen both for their educational value (Montessori-approved Nienhuis puzzles) and their good looks (Mies van der Rohe-inspired dollhouses). In Minneapolis, the boutiquey Pacifier (310 E. Hennepin Ave.; 612/623-8123; placates the pickiest parents with Italian eating utensils and Oeuf's bouncy seats in grown-up colors. San Francisco's Giggle (2110 Chestnut St.; 415/440-1884; combines haute designand health: allergen-free mattress pads are displayed alongside Modernist changing tables. And Miami Beach's trailblazing Genius Jones (1661 Michigan Ave.; 305/534-7622;, the source for Keith Haring rocking horses, is having its own baby: a second store, focusing on furniture, opens nearby this month.
—Robert Maniaci