Earlier this summer New York City's first-ever Lego Store moved into the heart of the Midtown Manhattan tourist district, opening a heavily-branded flagship store in the old Brookstone space in Rockefeller Center. Now, of course you can buy most everything Legos-related in a hundred places all over the city, as well as everywhere online. So the Lego folks know they have to turn their NYC retail space into a destination spot, complete with products you can't find anywhere else, if the tourists are going to bother buying, and the locals are going to show up at all. Based on what we've seen so far, the Legos Store in New York City succeeds on both counts.
In addition to piles of every construction kit imaginable, the Legos Store NYC offers several unique ways to buy the ubiquitous blocks, most notably the curving, massive, Pick-a-Brick wall that dominates the space. Here are well over a hundred bubbles filled with sorted Legos of all sizes, shapes and colors, from the obvious to the esoteric–pink bricks! tree limbs! wheels! doors!–that you can buy in bulk. Grab a bucket, small or large, and fill it up. This is both inspirational for custom builders, as well as indispensable for Lego fanatics with a specific, assembly-line project in mind (Lego Space Invader belt buckles for all your friends, anyone?). Also an interesting buying option at the Legos Store in NYC: the "Build a Mini" station, which you can assemble on site, then purchase, as many "guys" as you can imagine, using a vast array of facial expressions, headgear and outfits.
Really, though? Our favorite part of the Legos Store in Manhattan is the dozens of Lego dioramas that wind through the entire two-story space. Designed and constructed by a trio of Lego master builders (yes, that's a real job, and one that's apparently held by 40 individuals who travel the world building the company's most complicated projects), these small scenes, all NYC classics, are tucked inside specially-designed brick display cases. There's a woman feeding the pigeons on a park bench, for example, and the Statue of Liberty, and a playground crew shooting hoops, and suited-up traders yelling and gesticulating on the Stock Market floor. These are all great, as is the Lego Store's wildly busy centerpiece, a winter's day in Rock Center itself, with tons of skaters and gawkers and revelers and cops and snackers and all manner of city creatures, common and surprising (can you find Darth Vader?). These are all pretty irresistible for New York City partisans like ourselves. Just go to the Legos Store before December, and the tree, because the place is going to be a madhouse come high tourist season.
The Legos Store NYC Details
The Lego Store NYC is located within Rockefeller Center, close to Fifth Avenue and 51st Street. The Legos Store is open on Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.