New York Toy Fair for kids – big and small

Global Business

In New York there is a Midtown, a Downtown and once a year in February – a Toy Town!

CGTN’s John Terrett reports.

The North American International Toy Fair at the Javits Center is the biggest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. But before you say “Oh, that’s just for kids”—think again. The opposite’s true.

Buyers from all over the world are here with an eye on what to fill the stores with next Christmas, not necessarily just for children, but adults too. “Some of my earliest memories are Christmas morning lying on the floor buildings sets.” 

Lego sets, that is. Cody Pope is a Lego collector. As a kid he had thousands of little plastic bricks all over his mom and dad’s basement.

“A ping pong table set up with a city, a pool table set-up that was the pirates and another set of tables that was castle-themed,” Pope said.

Now, toy makers like Lego have people like Cody in their sights. Themes like Harry Potter, Star Wars and Jurassic Park are aimed at kids, and big kids who remember the movies first time round.

“It’s the 60th anniversary of the Lego brick this year and the only way that we can innovate and stay relevant for kids today is to ensure that we are bringing something new to this brick every year so that it feels fresh and relevant for them,” Michael McNally, the senior director for Brand Relations at LEGO said.

Jackie Retzer speaks for the Toy Association, which puts on the New York Toy Fair every year. Retzer said the idea of appealing to kids through their mom and dad has been building for a while, but this year they’re seeing it as a big trend. She calls it “Millennial Nostalgia!”

“Millennials are the majority of parents in the United States today and they’re having children.  They’re known as a very tech savvy generation but with their kids they really want to unplug. They want to have what they played with when they were kids and share it with their children,” Retzer said.

Back in his Manhattan apartment Cody displays his Lego, according to the seasons. “A Halloween castle right and I put that up at Halloween every year and tear it down build it up and tear it down. There’s a couple of different Christmas sets, a Christmas train that I put up every year,” Pope says. 

And as all Manhattan apartments are tiny, Cody’s lucky his hobby is on a small-scale. Cody’s convinced the trend seeking toys with retro themes, will continue for generations of kids, big ones and little ones to come.