Toy industry people certainly do clean up nicely. That was apparent on Thursday night, as many of us gathered in Rochester, New York for the ribbon cutting at the “new” Toy Industry Hall of Fame. We were at the Strong National Museum of Play where we got to see a really beautiful, and I think emotionally evocative display depicting the members of the Hall.
The Toy Industry Hall of Fame is actually not new. It once lived on the bridge that ran high above 24th street and connected the toy buildings at 200 Fifth Avenue and 1107 Broadway. It was nice but always felt like looking at pictures of your uncles and aunts that were hanging in the living room. The toy buildings were, after all, home. (The bridge is reportedly set for demolition so if you want to see a piece of toy industry history, go soon).
Now, in the new setting at the Strong, it feels like we just found out that those old paintings were actually by Rembrandt. My thoughts went to those Hall of Fame members in attendance: Neil Friedman, Arnie Rubin, Judy Ellis, Reuben Klamer, George Ditomassi, Tom Kalinski, Alan Hassenfeld, Pat Feely as well as the descendants and / or siblings of Stephen Hassenfeld, Merrill Hassenfeld, FAO Shwarz, Aaron Locker and “Spud”Melman.
What must it be like to try to take in that you have been memorialized for generations to come? What a wonderful and enduring testimony to a life’s work.
So compliments to boards and leadership of the Toy Industry Association and the Strong National Museum of Play for creating such a wonderful destination for toy and toy industry enthusiasts.