Chelsea’s iconic Empire Diner had a cubic makeover over the holiday weekend to celebrate the relaunch of the Lego Friends line.
From Saturday, Feb. 18 through Sunday, Feb. 19, New Yorkers of all ages were treated to a life-size Lego experience at 210 10th Ave. The eatery was transformed into a blocky playground for visitors to both feast and play.
The Empire Diner had its exterior decorated with Lego flowers and gigantic figures from the new toy set. Guests were afforded the ability to make free reservations over the two-day period after which they could build playsets while waiting to be seated, enjoy shakes named after the new characters, take photographs with the new characters’ unique belongings, and were even gifted play sets.
Based on a YouTube show, the LEGO Friends aims to teach children acceptance and champion diversity through relatable figures, including those with anxiety, limb difference, neurodivergence, Down Syndrome, and more.
“At the LEGO Group, we understand that children want the characters they encounter to be more like the diverse personalities they embody and the friends they meet in real life,” said Fenella Charity, creative lead for LEGO Friends. “We spoke with real kids; some even sent us letters about how they want to see themselves represented. To us, evolving our products is more than just checking a box on diversity but something deeply personal. We want to celebrate real kids’ life experiences and the re-imagined LEGO Friends universe aims to explore the emotional ups and downs and challenges of real friendships while including the vast range of visible and non-visible diversities that make them unique.”
According to Lego, the friends line took input from research that showed children yearn to see “differing emotions” expressed in their toys, something the company say the figures represent.
Those visiting the diner seemed taken with the characters, posing with them and even writing messages of inclusivity on a specially designed wall.
The characters are now available at the Lego store.