On Sept. 24, NYCLUG members were treated to a special preview of the new LEGO Brand Retail store in Manhattan’s Flatiron District — and it’s like no other LEGO store around!
Occupying the corner of the former International Toy Building at West 23rd Street and 5th Avenue, the first thing you notice is the giant LEGO mosaic mural dominating the storefront window — a dynamic, colorful tribute to the neighborhood which includes a depiction of the Flatiron Building and NYC subway signage.
On the door facing Broadway and 5th, we encountered a sign announcing the store’s “soft open” date:
…but you already get a sense that this LEGO store is vastly different — the sheer size, the massive LEGO sign that appears to be brick-built, and maxifigs galore.
Walking inside, we were greeted by the store’s new manager, Carlos, along with a bunch of people familiar to most New York City-area AFOLs: Xavier from the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Yonkers, Derek from West Nyack, Laura from the regional office, and a bunch of other LEGO employees and contractors scrambling to get the store ready for its opening. Store management, as always, made us feel welcome, sharing some facts about the process of getting a store like this up and running (the floor was only finished two days before!) and other fun facts (this will be the City’s second flagship store, along with the Rockefeller Center location). LEGO sets and displays were scattered about, and in case you were wondering, yes, they sort just like all AFOLs do. 🙂
Behind and above the counter, a visual treat: a massive LEGO sign that, upon closer inspection, is actually a miniscale cityscape!
Above the racks and racks of LEGO product, a diorama runs almost the length of the entire store, depicting various periods in New York City’s history.
And yes, there’s a Pick-A-Brick wall, filled with many familiar PAB selections and some elements not yet seen, including 1×2 dark azure blue bricks and tan 2×2 tiles.
As the old Internet meme goes, SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!! 🙂
NYCLUG had been invited to help construct some of the models shoppers will see at the store — here’s a preview:
…and a LEGO staffer was assembling one when we got there. If you’ve ever wondered what plastic sushi tastes like, um, you’re not alone. 🙂
Perhaps the highlight of the store is the massive Torch of Liberty sculpture, standing about 15 feet high and made almost entirely of sand green brick (probably yours truly’s favorite color of LEGO) and topped with a flickering flame.
NYCLUG was also asked to have a MOC display ready in two weeks for the Community window — it’s that rectangular box right beneath The LEGO Movie sets — a reminder of the vital role that AFOLs and LUGs play in the world of LEGO!
Thanks again to Carlos and the entire LEGO Brand Retail team for the preview — they always make AFOLs feel welcome and loved. And don’t forget to visit LEGO Flatiron starting the weekend of Sept. 27. It’ll be the most fun you’ll have in New York City… besides going to the Rockefeller Center LEGO Store. 🙂