For more than 60 years, Toys“R”Us has been helping kids be kids and grown-ups to revisit their childhoods by providing one of the largest selections of top-brand toys, electronics, games and everyday baby essentials. Founder, Charles Lazarus, revolutionized the toy business by modeling his stores after supermarkets, providing a variety of options to suit varying ages and interests and offering customers to help themselves and have fun in the process. Today, that sense of playfulness is evident at nearly 600 stores in the United States alone, including a flagship location in Times Square where kids are greeted by a 60-foot Ferris wheel, a 5-ton animatronic T-Rex, and a life-sized, 4,000-square-foot Barbie house.
Beyond everybody's favorite bikes, trains and video games, each Toys“R”Us store keeps its shelves stocked with the season’s must-have toys as well as nostalgic standbys that never go out of style. Time-tested brands such as LEGO, Radio Flyer, NERF and Fisher-Price share the shelves with an expansive selection of electronics for older kids, including Wii U and tablets. And though the company has inspired generations of boys and girls to try their hardest not to grow up, it also strives to ensure budding brains develop right on track by devoting a significant portion of its stores to “smart-play” with a wide selection of electronic learning toys and software.
Toys“R”Us—whose extended family of brands includes Babies“R”Us and FAO Schwarz—has earned a number of awards and recognitions through the years, including a spot on Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies in 2012. The company has also drawn considerable recognition for its expansive charitable efforts, which include partnerships with the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Save the Children. This year also marks the tenth consecutive year that the company has partnered with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to collect new, unwrapped toys and monetary donations in its stores to benefit the organization.
At Nest Maternity, helpful staffers happily assist expecting moms, guiding them through what can often be a confusing, albeit exciting period in their lives. With the goal of making mothers-to-be comfortable, they adorned their shop with tranquil fountains, a lounge, and a kids' play area—all thoughtful details that helped earn them the Red Tricycle Award in 2011 for Best Maternity Store and in 2012 for Plushest Baby & Maternity Shops. Shelves teem with haute threads from Olian and Lilac, which celebrate and enhance the beauty of a woman's body during pregnancy, as well as accessories including musical CDs, nursing covers, diaper bags, and carriers. In addition to dresses, skirts, and jeans designed to fit over baby bumps, they also carry organic baby clothes that accommodate infants who are slowly transforming into larger infants or small children.
Inside Eastern Bakery, a photo shows Former President Bill Clinton biting into a lotus double-yolk moon cake during a visit in 1996. His enjoyment of the pastry is evident, and makes him just one of a lengthy list of fans. The staff even sends their famed moon cakes to anywhere in the United States, as well as to the moon, where they’re simply called cakes. As for the rest of the bakery, a 2012 segment on CBS 5 proclaims it has “more variety than almost any other bakery you’ll find anywhere.” Its display cases teem with coconut-filled fruit cakes and winter melon golden yolk cakes, as well as savory Chinese tamales that hide sticky rice, peanuts, and pork.