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Up In The Air

Where to find great party balloons

When it comes to birthday parties for babies and toddlers, it’s all about the balloons.
Downtown moms rave about the Balloon Saloon, whose owner Sharon Hershkowitz doesn’t mind chatting about her high profile customers, like Mariah Carey, who ordered hundreds of hot pink balloons and butterfly shapes, and Sarah Jessica Parker, whose child got the Harry Potter theme party. Apparently, the Seinfelds like the Elmo and bee themes; Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson have shopped here for fun shapes and characters including Elmo, Dora, and various Super Heros, plus giant, 3-foot number-shaped balloons. Single helium balloons start at $1.50, and go up to $12 for a huge elephant or $20 for a 3-foot smiley face. Balloon Saloon delivers in Manhattan ($15-25) and Brooklyn ($25). 212.227.3838; Balloonsaloon.com
Balloon Bouquets of New York is known for its oversized latex balloons (36 inches tall), for a larger-than-life effect. They also create super fun balloon sculptures, which can be customized to look like anything from a cowboy to an astronaut or chef. A 12-balloon arrangement of standard (11 inch) latex balloons is $28, with a minimum order of two; or 24 loose balloons for $48, plus delivery. There isn’t a storefront, so you need to order by phone or by appointment. Deliveries in Manhattan only. 212.265.5252; balloonbouquetsnyc.com
Princess and pirate parties are popular at Balloons to Go, but they can work with any theme you request and will customize balloons to match. They always have the latest, hottest theme—these days it’s Alice in Wonderland or Blue’s Clues—on offer. $43.22 is the minimum order for six foil or 12 regular balloons; deliveries throughout the NYC area. Bonus: Balloons to Go offers delivery service 24 hours a day. 212.989.9338; balloonstogo.biz
TIP: Some CVS stores in the city will fill helium balloons for as little as 50 cents each (the CVS on University Place in Greenwich Village is one of a handful we found that do)—even if you don’t buy the balloons there. CVS won’t go on record saying they officially provide the service, but it is worth checking out your local CVS to see if they do.