Our dads group ventured into unchartered territory – a weekend event. I was hesitant to plunge into a weekend event because the weekends usually mean lots of family bonding time for us at-home-dads. However, I was pleasantly surprised when NYC Dads Group got together on a Saturday morning at the new Lionel Train Shop in Rockefeller Center. Like me, many of the dads brought their wives to this exclusive engagement, and it felt more like a family event than a dads event – which was a welcome change of pace. My wife really enjoyed the opportunity to meet many of the involved fathers whom I spend ample time with during the week as well as some of their breadwinning wives!
The Lionel Electric Train Flagship Store is the first “brick & mortar” shop for this company that has been around since 1900. Unfortunately, this seasonal “pop-up shop” concept store is set to shut own on January 5, 2010, so now is the time to plan your visit. Walking into the store feels like walking into a candy shop. There was eye candy everywhere – not of the hot & attractive women kind, but of trains, accessories, and collectibles for dads & kids of all ages. This sleek space had a few major attractions: 1. the ultimate live train model display equipped with gadgets and all of the bells and whistles – my son enjoyed pressing the “start” button to set the train in motion. 2. a 60-inch plasma screen showing the movie trailer to Lionel Train’s first computer-generated animation film, Lionelville DVD Destination: Adventure! and 3. the display of their cool product line including many pricey train cars with intricate detail and related gear. There is something about the store that makes you consider going “all in” and buying an entire train set, setting it up, and enjoying hours of fun. Consequently, the reality of our apartment size set in and so did that idea.
Overall, it is difficult to walk out of this concept store (set in the heart of touristville next to Radio City) without making a purchase, even if it is only the traditional style conductor hat or a magnet. The dads in the group seemed to really enjoy the morning event as much as I did. Here is what a few of them had to say… “We had a great time! We even purchased our first Lionel train set.”…”Although he’s a few years away from his first set, my son loves trains and was absolutely captivated by the model displays.”…”I left wanting a train, which is not something I entered the store with the anticipation of (Damn you, Lionel Trains!)”