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New York's American International Toy Fair September 30 - October 3, 2023

Not Much to Show For It

While I did miss the bulk of the show due to a surprise bout of what I believe to be food poisoning that last about a day and change (don't eat the yellow pizza), I did get to catch up on coverage and anecdotes and found I may not have missed much. With New York Comic Con just days away, an increased emphasis on online reveals, and a few companies seemingly not being sure exactly how this was going to go down, this felt like the least surprising Toy Fair I've ever seen. There were a lot of mentions of licenses in development so things could be fun in 1-2 years. But we'll have to wait and see.


On the whole, Toy Fair 2023 felt a little more like Javits center a long time ago because some of the big guys were absent, much of the toy press seemed gone quickly, but there were a surprising amount of people dressed in what I would call costumes. Maybe it's for social and streaming, or maybe this is just a generational thing when we saw people in suits and dresses 20 years ago slowly transition to jeans and t-shirts (and less) today. I'm fine with this.

Many of the same companies remained, with a big Ty and Melissa and Doug booths upstairs as well as increasingly massive presences for Funko and LEGO - the latter of which had a surprisingly good external showcase for the lookie-loos and non-confidential showings. That's a great direction for any enclosed booth to take.

Given that the last New York Toy Fair was in 2020, when all is said and done, things did not seem dramatically altered.

Around Town

Hunting season never ends, and FAO Schwartz was where I left it. There were a lot of Funko figures on display, and a lot of surprisingly cheap Steiff plushies, but no action figures, Transformers, LEGO, or Playmobil. One of the record stores I visited was closed for a private event, and Nintendo NYC - which runs hot or cold - was running cold in terms of weird surprises. It was mostly Mario stuff, with only 2 Metroid hoodies and a smattering of Zelda. Maybe the next console cycle will inject some excitement back into it. It was a long hike without much that really pushed my buttons, except Book-Off was loaded with classic Famicom cartridges. There were a few in 2020, but now it was a significant quantity with higher-than-expected prices.

The Grand Finale of New York Toy Fair in 2025?

The biggest news was about the show itself. New York Toy Fair has a new slate of dates put out the scoop which includes no show for 2024, New York in 2025, and then a switch to New Orleans in January. Why? I have no idea. New York City used to be where most big toy companies kept permanent showrooms, but those have been phased out almost completely over the last 15 years. While I've never been to New Orleans I've really come to love visiting New York and am not looking forward to it being phased out.

See You Next Mission?

Some whispers from around the convention seemed to indicate that the show this year - which seemed to have a low turnout - may be higher than what we're likely to see come 2025 with some grousing about how people did not seem overly excited to go to New Orleans at all. The New Orleans mass transit system has almost an hour and a half between the airport and the convention center, as opposed to 20 minutes via taxi or rental car. By comparison, the New York subway takes about as long as the taxi - or less time, during rush hour.

--Adam Pawlus

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Featured Toy Video

 Legend of Zelda Brain Teasers

 Countdown Characters

 G.I. Joe
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