On Saturday, Oct. 28, the LEGO Ideas team held its first-ever U.S.-based launch for the forthcoming "Women of NASA" set, designed by AFOL Maia Weinstock, at the LEGO Brand Retail store in Manhattan's Flatiron District. A line of eager fans curled around the block for a chance to meet the designer and get a signed box ahead of the general release on Nov. 1st. Members of the New York City LUG joined parents and families for the four-hour event, which also featured a special in-store build for kids. According to Tim Courtney, Experience Manager for the LEGO Company, the event marked the first time that an Ideas set had premiered in America: prior sets had early releases in Europe.
The fun began early Saturday morning as LEGO VIPs began lining up, eager to meet Maia Weinstock, the fan designer who submitted the "Women of NASA" concept to LEGO Ideas last year and quickly gained the needed 10,000 votes. The set itself is available to the public beginning November 1st, but during this special event, fans would be able to snag an early copy, as well as meet Maia and have their sets signed.
As AFOLs go, Maia is recent to the hobby, telling us that she first began designing minifigures based on hr contemporaries in the science field in 2009.
Store manager Carlos Fernandez and a team of about 12 employees got the store ready, setting up rows and rows of set #21312 and ensuring that once inside the store, fans would be able to quickly pick up their sets and get into line to meet Maia. As a courtesy to the hometown LUG, several members of the New York City LEGO Users Group -- yours truly included -- as well as correspondents for AFOL publications were given early access so they could wrap up interviews with Maia and Hasan before the doors opened at 10am.
Tim pointed out that previous LEGO Ideas launch events were held outside the US in cities across Europe. However, with the amazing turnout for the Flatiron launch of Women of NASA, there's little doubt that we should expect many more events like this stateside.
And in a reminder of how LEGO brings folks together, one attended shared, via Twitter, the very special reason why she showed up to get a copy of "Women of NASA."
In all, it was a great day. We hope the event's success encourages LEGO to hold many more just like it.