Four years ago, my Lego-loving son and I attended the opening of Manhattan's first-ever Lego Store at Rockefeller Center. This Columbus Day weekend, it will be déjà vu all over again when we hit the four-day grand opening celebration for NYC's brand-new Lego emporium on Fifth Avenue across from Madison Square Park.
The store's official debut takes place this Friday, October 10 through Monday, October 13, and features hands-on building fun for Lego lovers of all ages. However, the store is actually already open to the public. So my son and I went to check out the eye-popping shop which is filled with cool oversize Lego sculptures, the latest Lego sets, loose pieces, and cute accessories like Christmas ornaments, wrapping paper and Lego-shaped ice-cube trays. Even though I cringe at the amount of money I'll inevitably spend here (it's scarily close to my apartment), I have to admit it's pretty awesome—and thankfully they're not piping in that "Everything Is Awesome" Lego Movie song. We've got the scoop on the new store and its grand opening festivities this Columbus Day weekend.
The new 3,500-square-foot Lego Store has a fabulous location on Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street in the Flatiron District, near big family attractions like the interactive Museum of Mathematics, the Eataly Italian food market and Madison Square Park. The shop has high ceilings, massive windows and an open floor plan, so it's easy to get around, even if you're pushing a stroller. As you can see from our pics, there are amazing Lego sculptures everywhere you look. My favorites trace Manhattan's evolution from farmland to urban center. But kids will probably be more impressed by the eight-foot-tall Statue of Liberty torch and Lego mascot Brickley the Dragon, who winds his way through the entire store. You can also peek through portholes at smaller but equally intricate Lego sculptures—my son loved the burger with fries.
The store includes a few special features, like the Digital Box where kids can watch Lego City sets come to life via 3D animation—planes and helicopters fly, cars drive and so on. You can also make your own minifigure at the Mini Master Builder Bar and grab specific individual pieces at the Pick a Brick Wall.
My son's favorite part of our visit was gawking at the recreation of the Flatiron District in the Lego Lounge. The display really captures the neighborhood, and includes some hysterical touches, like a Batman minifig perched atop the Flatiron Building and a giant monster in Madison Square Park's dog run. The Lounge also has couches where you can plop down and relax or read Lego-themed books, Lego bases to build on and complimentary charging stations for mobile devices. Unfortunately the store doesn't have a bathroom, so if you need to go, you'll need to use the one in nearby Madison Square Park, which costs a quarter.
The store also hosts some ongoing activities for kids, like FREE mini model building the first Tuesday of every month and various Lego clubs.
Columbus Day Weekend Grand Opening Activities
In honor of the Flatiron Lego Store's official opening, check out these special activities—find times and more info in our event listing:
Help master builders create a 20-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty in Madison Square Park. All ages can join in and every participant snags a Certificate of Achievement. Note: Get there early! It will undoubtedly be mobbed and once the sculpture's done, that's it.
Enjoy some great opening weekend deals—did you really think you'd make it out without buying something?
Manhattan's new flagship Lego Store is located at 200 Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street.
Read about other cool kid-friendly megastores in our Shopping Guide.