At The New 5th Avenue Lego Store, The Subway System Takes Tokens

It’s the Summer of NYC, and if that’s inspired you to venture back out to, say, Midtown, then you may want to hit up the new Lego Store Fifth Avenue, where the purveyor of tiny colorful bricks is also offering up a plastic tribute to New York City. The shop, which opened Friday, features recreations of the city’s landmarks, as well as homages to its smaller charms, like a throwback subway token booth.

The token booth warns that there’s no “J play train” service between City Junction to Friends Center, so the C imagination trains will be running instead (an accurately confusing message from the Lego MTA). It also claims that “your subway system is the fastest, safest and cheapest mode of transportation in the world today…” which highly suggests that Lego is in the pocket of the transit agency.

The new store, across from Rockefeller Center, will appeal to kids and AFOL (Adult Friend Of Lego) alike. In fact, it’s possible all grown-up Zack Zack the Lego Maniacs will enjoy it more, because not only can they enjoy the replicas of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, 1 World Trade Center, and even a life-size yellow cab, they can build their own minifigures with a special printer.

[A moment on minifigures: Those are the little Lego figures that come with sets, but Lego has also been selling them individually in blind bags. That means there’s a whole subculture dedicated to collecting minifigures and there are many, many videos and guides to help people feel their way around the bags to complete their collections or find rare ones. And, yes, the pandemic prompted a pause on and debate over blind bag feeling.]

Lego has also invoked some Broadway razzle-dazzle for the opening of the new store—they have created a musical number, featuring Tony-winning performer Renee Elise Goldsberry (Anjelica Schuyler in Hamilton, Wickie Roy in Girls5Eva) :

Other features in the store include Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters, Marvel Cinematic Universe tie-ins, an interactive experience where your minifig can go into a Lego world. Not punk enough for you? Well, there’s even an East Village punk.

And don’t miss the other nod to a mode of NYC mass transit: A replica of the New York Waterway ferry, in the East River beneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Guess the NYC Ferry was too subsidized even for the nearly $7 billion Lego corporation to take on.

The Lego Store Fifth Avenue is at 636 Fifth Avenue (at 51st Street).

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