Shoppers browsed empty, ivory-white shelves Tuesday afternoon, searching for discount sales on merchandise that Toys R Us apparently did not want to transfer to another location. Anything leftover at closing time will be deported to the desolate Island of Misfit Toys.
Those wooden pallets look fun! (Scott Heins / Gothamist)
Some toys were marked down by 90% of their original price, and many areas of the store—including the massive Barbie Dream House section—were completely empty. Naked metal racks laid upon particle board shelves; things were downright Grinch-like.
In an interview with Commercial Observer earlier this year, Cushman & Wakefield's Brad Mendelson, who markets the 110,000 square foot space in the Bow Tie Building at Broadway and Seventh Avenue, said "[Toys R Us] did not exercise the option to renew. Here's the long and the short of it. They have 21,000 square feet [on the ground floor]. There really is not a tenant that can rent that. The market has just escalated so."
Rent has reportedly risen to $2,500 per square foot on the ground floor. Part of the space formerly occupied by Toys R Us will be taken over by a desperately needed Gap/Old Navy combo.
The Times Square location opened in November 2001 and features a massive Ferris wheel, Lego recreations of New York City landmarks, a massive Willy Wonka-themed candy shop (which still operated at full capacity Tuesday), and a towering animatronic T-Rex installation.
A Toys R Us spokesperson tells Fortune the company is still looking for a new location in Manhattan, adding, "we are hopeful we can remain in the Times Square area."