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The New York Experience

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Roving Rube

Sept. 24, 2003

Toys 'R Us, Times Square

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This flagship store sets the tone for today's Times Square as much as the old smoke-ring blowing Camel billboard did back in the old days, the Rube believes. And if you are a tourist with kids in tow, you will be visiting it.

Its most distinctive external feature is the massive, brilliantly-colored, and frequently changing "window-shade" signage (in context). It catches your attention through its rapid and store-wide motion as it switches to a new configuration. The Rube first noticed this kind of sign on the neighboring Bertelsman Building in the mid-nineties, but it was just one sign in one window. Perhaps since we (as predators or prey?) are very alert to sudden motion in our peripheral vision, we are almost compelled to over at look at these when they shift. You seem them now on sign trucks and at NBA games, etc. But Toy 'R Us has the biggest and best!

The same principle seems to apply to the long video screen at the north end of the story, where baby Geoffrey peeks out of the corners at you, and then abruptly hides, until at length reassured that you won't hurt him, he stares at you. He has those kind of eyes that follow you all around Times Square, much like those of the beautiful girl in lingerie directly above him.

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