Toy Fair New York may be the closest thing to a true Santa’s Workshop — a place so filled with so much wonderment that even the oldest adult’s eyes seem wide and aglow. Despite the hoopla and staging of the world’s largest who’s who of toy companies, the event does not reveal itself as one that is overly commercialized. Sure, companies pay massive amounts of money to have balloon characters fly over the lobby or they may rent out ad space on each of the steps leading to the halls, but such efforts have always been in good spirit and unity.
Now, let me preface what I am about to reveal by stating that I am in no way insulting the job of the Toy Association or Toy Fair itself. The men and woman who comprise the show and the unions who help build the show do an amazing job and follow a great set of standards. Personally, I have been to Toy Fair in the past; I have attended as a vendor, an exhibitor, a guest, a buyer and hired talent and up until this year, every run seemed magical and inviting.
Almost as if the loss of Geoffrey marked a symbolic turning point in the toy industry, the vibe seemed much darker this year. In years past, attendees understood that they were invited to participate in something esoteric and they treated this badge of honor with respect by acting accordingly. As many know and some may come to realize, for over one hundred years, the annual Toy Fair is not open to the public and there are strict set of standards and limitations in order to be invited to come to the event.
In a shocking manner, certain members of the press reeked of alcohol. A number of folk donned wardrobe more appropriate for a Kentucky County Fair rather than the Toy Fair of New York City.
Also disappointing were the number of booth clerks who had little knowledge of their company, products or lineage. In one such instance, a clueless disheveled new higher to one such vendor attempted to shake my hand just after I watched him cough repeatedly into his hand and sniffle loudly before wiping the snot from his nose. I love Purell as much as the next guy, but there are limits. In one conversation, a representative from a respected company unsolicitedly shared his drug use protocols openly.
Sometimes when you start down a dark road, it is hard to turn back. But follow me and let’s continue on. Perhaps in the past I have been either too self absorbed to understand the reality or merely overly focused on my own goals in the past to take notice. It is now safe to say that I have gained a significant amount of respect for the trials that women must endure while attempting to navigate the road to success. Now, I’m not a glass ceilings spokesperson in the least, but maybe through such a looking glass, I stumbled upon a glimpse of male privilege.
There were lewd comments abound as I made my way through the halls and past one conversation centered around someone’s cum. Possibly, the most disturbing, at least witnessed first hand, was one couple who found it necessary to invite our [female] boss into a threesome. As she attempted to maintain her poise, the [gentle]man of the relationship delineated for a moment to snap a few pictures of his subject. They returned on the following day with video proof of the couple’s evening of debauchery at some sort of nightclub were he managed to strip for patrons. This was followed with a second invite to join the open and promiscuous couple that evening.
Not so reluctantly, she declined the offer but at least it was an advance that she was able to decline as she was the recipient of no less than three uninvited shoulder massages, an invite to a tropical location as well as an assertion tantamount to a marriage proposal. To all the women out there who have risen through the ranks, kudos to you for overcoming not only the trials and hurdles that the business world has to offer, but doing so while dodging the sleaze balls. But honestly guys what if this was your wife, your mother or your niece? Had this been my daughter though, I may have been reporting from an overcrowded New York jail.
On the other hand, the displays and items were nothing short of spectacular in a number of cases. Basic Fun created a large display of towering ferris wheels and New York City buildings. Super 7 even introduced a line of Breakin figures; there were even flying pokemons hoisted above the hall and mad scientists hawking slime that doesn’t splatter when you drop it. The insanely popular YouTuber personality, Ninja, had a new product line with Wicked Cool Toys.
Then there were bands and showmen, dancers and contortionists, lights and cameras with plenty of action, but hey, who the fuck cares, did you see those titties?