On my first full day in the city, Regina & I hit the streets nice and early (hey, 11 AM is early for us!) and decided to visit two places I'd highlighted in my Free & Dirt Cheap NYC guide book I'd picked up at the Vaughn Library back in Ashland. (Hush, my "highlighting" was done with post-it notes, not a marker. Me, deface a library book? Pshaw.)
First on our list--the Forbes Galleries.
Imagine you're rich. No, really rich. You're Malcolm Forbes-rich. In fact, you are Malcolm Forbes. Money is no object. You can do whatever you want. You like toy boats and toy soldiers. Sure, why wouldn't you? You're Malcolm Forbes. One day you get the idea to gather up as many of these as possible in the lobby of your magazine's building and to let nerdy tourists walk through and stare at them. And because you're Malcolm Forbes & you don't really need any more money, you decide you'll even let the gawking tourists look for free.
Yes, that's right, folks: once a freebie-lovin' VISTA, always a freebie-lovin' VISTA. On the inside, anyway. Regina & I were all over this like flies on rice.
The first few rooms of the galleries are devoted to toy boats. Lots and LOTS of toy boats. Some of which are so large, you'd have a hell of a time even getting them into your bathtub. (I kept picturing that mean fat kid from Pee Wee's Big Adventure in his giiiiiiiiant bathtub as we walked through this part...maybe he could fit some of these in his tub.)
Honestly, pictures can't do this place justice. Figure for every boat pictured here, there's about fifty billion more--and all in these fancy display cases, complete with little rubber aquatic critters hovering around, scuba divers, some on these whirling lazy-susan-esque things spinning 'round and 'round...it's something else.
Just when you think to yourself, "My gosh, this Malcolm Forbes character certainly took the toy boat thing to the limit," you walk out of boatland and straight into...TOY SOLDIER COUNTRY.
You thought the boat display showed an almost insane level of attention to detail? You ain't seen nothing yet. Because when they label something "toy soldiers," they don't just mean soldiers. Oh, no. Sure, there's a lot of soldiers, that goes without saying. But what you aren't expecting is the scope of the accoutrement accompanying the soldiers. The display cases/structures alone are awesome...but it's the little touches that really stand out. The guillotine in the castle, complete with little decapitated guy...Santa Claus sitting in a town square in a Christmas montage...a football team posing for a photograph as lines of soldiers whirl around them on a giant turntable. It really is amazing.