shopping 02.18.15

Balloon Saloon

It's surprising that we've come to associate balloons with good times. Reading through the dozens of New York Times headlines about balloons in the 19th century, it was all doom and gloom: "A Balloon Wrecked in a Pine-Tree," "Terrible Balloon Accident," "A Fall From a Balloon," "Balloons as Destructive Agents" and "Unpleasant Balloon Ascension" are just a few of the dispatches. (In case you're wondering , the unpleasant ascension was a result of gas from the balloon causing the aeronaut flying the thing to pass out.)

The first rubber balloons are credited to chemist and physicist Michael Faraday (1824) and it wasn't until almost the turn of the century when party-favor balloons became available. The Montgomery Ward catalogue sold red ones for four cents a piece in 1889.

Sharon Hershkowitz-Levy opened Balloon Saloon, 133 W. Broadway [Duane/ Thomas] 212.227.3838, in 1980 and still runs the store along with her daughter. They have many hundreds of balloon varieties and can supply a party for a five-year-old plus a few friends or for a sold-out Madison Square Garden event.

They sell more types of balloons than you can shake a stick at (though it's not advisable to shake a stick at a balloon). There are pastels, metallic colors, polka dots, balloons made of mylar, balloons in shapes of dogs and pumpkins and shamrocks, there are ones that sing, that light up, that have custom imprinting, and some that use Hi-Float, which keeps the float going for those looking for a better high.

A bonus to the store is its party favors and novelties. Candy, board games, stickers, Wacky String, Spam Lip Glaze, X-ray glasses. You know, like that.

Prospect Park Lake

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