Looking Back at the Madame Alexander Museum

Earlier, I posted about the super cool windows and mannequins put up for a month-long celebration of Barbie’s 50 years. During that same trip in 2009 to New York City, I ventured into Harlem to the Madame Alexander Museum and Doll Hospital, located at 615 West 131st St. Before you add this amazing place to your bucket list, I regret to inform you that it no longer exists.

Previous owners of the company Kahn Lucas Lancaster closed the Harlem headquarters, doll museum and doll hospital shortly after taking ownership. Initially, the website said the museum and hospital would reopen later, but that never came to be. Now under new ownership, I can only hope they consider opening another museum to showcase the almost 100 years of history that’s behind the iconic Madame Alexander Doll brand.

Historically, the building was so much more than just a museum and doll hospital. Madame Alexander herself moved her headquarters to the building in the 1950’s and manufactured some of the most influential Madame Alexander dolls ever created in that space.

Alongside that, she brought jobs to hundreds of people, as the company “evolved into one of Harlem’s largest private employers”. When production moved overseas in the 1990’s, the headquarters remained open for designers, seamstresses and other doll artisans.

At the time of its closing, one article spoke with a woman who was saddened by the closure of the space.

“Iman Issa, a grandmother of two 9-year-olds who manages the Studebaker Cafe on the ground floor of the old doll headquarters, said she was deeply saddened by the closure.

“I know the people who worked there,” said Issa, who bought her daughters Madame Alexander dolls, “amazing people who put their hearts and souls into the dolls. The amount of work put into those doll…it’s a shame.”

I may not have lived in the area or known the people who lost their jobs with the closure, but I have to agree with her sentiments. It is such a shame this amazing museum and doll hospital were closed, especially considering the history of the company in the building, the legacy of the company on doll collecting/manufacturing and the strength of the woman who went from immigrant to female founder her very own company before she was 30.

Now, let’s talk about the museum. Besides just being a wonderful place to see beautiful dolls, it also had a party room. If I lived in the area, having a party there, surrounded by so many pretty dolls, would have definitely been on the to-do! So, without further ado, let’s take a look inside the museum!

This is the party room. Lovely, right?

And here are some of the beauties on display. I kick myself every time I look at these photos. I wish I had had a better camera to really capture the atmosphere of this breathtaking museum properly.

How pretty is this Maggie face? To have this in my collection would be amazing!

My taste hasn’t changed much, judging by what I chose to photograph. Though, to be honest, I wasn’t as much of a Madame Alexander collector back in 2009 as I am now. That’s another reason I wish the museum was still open. I know I’d get so much more out of it today.

The bridesmaid, bride and groom in the second row are gorgeous! They look to be composition dolls or transitional dolls. Transitional dolls may be my favorite kind because of the mohair wigs.

I know she’s a later doll, but I love the pirate on the left!

There were over 600 dolls lining the halls when the museum was open. I tried looking high and low for videos from the museum, but had very little luck. Here’s a video shot during a doll hospital tour, which unfortunately, I didn’t take due to time.

The Madame Alexander Museum was truly a hidden gem in Harlem. A magical place for doll collectors of any kind, this museum held so much history within its walls. I am so happy to have had the courage to trek from Manhattan to Harlem via taxi on my own in an unfamiliar city to see the museum.  Of all the things I’ve done in New York City, it’s one of my favorite adventures.

Did you get the chance to go to the Madame Alexander Museum while it was open? Do you think they should re-open the museum? Share your thoughts in the comment area!

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January 17, 2019. Uncategorized. 7 comments.

Looking Back at Barbie’s 50th Anniversary- NYC Style

In February 2009, I was summoned to New York City, not for Toy Fair, but to take the Directors Guild Assistant Training Program test in an attempt to get into the exclusive program which trains Production Assistants. It wasn’t meant to be. The test was ridiculous and silly and I honestly still have no idea how taking an IQ test tells anyone how good of a production assistant one would be. However, since I was in New York City, I, of course, made time to wander about. This trip, however short, ended up being very doll filled!

I thought I’d go back in time today to show you how Barbie was being celebrated at Bloomingdale’s in 2009 in their New York City location. Because Barbie was turning the big 5-0, Bloomies went all out with their Barbie Loves Bloomingdale’s NYC exhibit. It featured a month-long Barbie celebration including traffic-stopping store windows along Third Avenue, an unprecedented in-store display of 120 historic Barbie dolls, and a 242-square-foot, in-store Barbie boutique featuring Barbie-branded apparel, accessories and dolls.

Here’s some photos of the dolls on display.

I spent a couple bucks at the Barbie Boutique, which I’m sure comes as no surprise to you! I bought an adorable clutch purse (Barbie Luxe by Patricia Field, shown below)!

The next two photos were actually taken at NYC’s Sephora for the All Doll’d Up with “Barbie™ Loves Stila” Cosmetic Collection.

Now, back to Bloomies… On display in store were also some fantastically dressed Barbie mannequins. From the 2009 press release, “To celebrate Barbie doll’s place in fashion, Rootstein, and Mattel, have collaborated to produce a limited edition collection of mannequins with Barbie as the muse – a literal homage to the fantastic, fashion favorite whose many looks have provided a common point of reference for generations of women across the globe. Re-modeled into a stunningly six-foot-two-inches-tall figure, dozens of mannequins have been created to resemble the 11 ½ inch-tall iconic doll. The mannequins will retain Barbie doll’s hourglass figure, youthful skin and stunning style to emphasize the fact that at 50, Barbie, is a truly modern woman.”

I was so fortunate to be in New York City when this month-long celebration of Barbie was going on at Bloomingdale’s and around New York City. If only I had a better camera to capture it all. Stay tuned for a few more photos from my 2009 trip that feature the gone, but not forgotten Madame Alexander Museum. Were you lucky enough to see these Barbie windows and mannequins in person?  Do you have a favorite window or mannequin? Let us know in the comment area!

January 14, 2019. Tags: . Uncategorized. 12 comments.

My Melody McD Japan Fry/Drink Holder

I’ve always been a Hello Kitty fan. I have fond memories of wandering through the local mall and into our Sanrio Store, filled with store made lucky bags and kawaii merchandise just waiting to be bought. Now, I never really got to buy anything from the store, as I only received a $2.00 allowance and that didn’t amount to much, but nonetheless, I fell in love with the cute characters and vibe of Sanrio and their products. That being said, I don’t actually have a large Sanrio collection. I dream of decking my car out in Hello Kitty finery one day and would love a bathroom themed around the kawaii characters, but besides a few small things, my collection is pretty slim.

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As I said, I have this weird dream of decking out my car in Hello Kitty cuteness. So, it should come as no surprise that I fell hard for the McDonalds Japan exclusive Fry and Drink holder, designed to hold, as you’ve probably guessed, a drink and fries from McDonalds. Made in the likeness of My Melody’s face, the drink and fry holder was too cute to pass up. After seeing it in a Facebook group of Hello Kitty fans, I immediately headed over to eBay, found a seller in Japan and put my money down for one!

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A few weeks later, it arrived and, guys, it was worth the wait! While this was designed to be carried or to hang from the headrest of a car, you can really use it for anything. In total, the Sanrio My Melody Fry and Drink holder is 23cm long, 9cm wide and 11cm tall. Currently, I have a hodgepodge of things in mine, including a few unused chopsticks, some sonic screwdrivers and other odds and ends.

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They sit in an unused fry container that I asked for when I ran into McDonalds the day this arrived and asked for a clean fry holder. The girl ringing me up probably thought I was crazy.

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If you’re looking to buy one of these for yourself, you can find one on eBay. I’m hoping McDonalds Japan does more of these with other Sanrio Characters one day, since they were clearly popular with fans of the brand.

What do you think of this adorable fry and drink holder from McDonalds Japan? Share your thoughts in the comment area!

January 12, 2019. Tags: . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Kikipop Kinoko Juice- So Kawaii!

Last year at the Pullip and Dal Doll Lovers Event, I went gaga over the Kikipop Kinoko Juice dolls that were on guest tables and being sold by vendors. They were too expensive to even consider buying at the show, but I had caught the Kikipop bug! Fast forward to 11/11/2018, when AliExpress was running an 11/11 sale. One store had their Kikipop Kinoko Juice dolls at an amazing price in celebration of what is China’s biggest shopping day of the year (think of 11/11 like Black Friday in the US, but much bigger). Kikipops were originally made in resin for the Japanese market by doll company Kinoko Juice, who later partnered with Azone to release them more widely in ABS.

There’s an issue of authenticity that comes into play here and some of you may disagree with me on my stance when it comes to buying ball jointed dolls that don’t come direct from the companies that sell them. For me, however, deciding to add this Kikipop Kinoko Juice doll to my collection was a no brainer, knowing that dropping $300 plus dollars on an authentic 1/6th scale doll was never going to happen. If you can afford to collect only authentic dolls, go for it. If you see a great price on a doll you think may be less than authentic but it comes from a reputable buyer with good resin and you know you’ll love it forever, I also say, go for it. Do what feels right to you!

So, going back to the story, a resin Kikipop Kinoko Juice BJD was ordered that would eventually end up under our Christmas tree with my name on it. Since I knew about her in advance, I was able to do a little bit of shopping, so when I eventually opened up this cutie, she’d be prepared to make her debut to you all!

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All decked out in her new outfit and wig, my new Kikipop is adorable! I love her to bits and will definitely be adding a few more to my collection! At 26cm, Kiki is a great size and has a body more like a Yo-SD doll than a slim 1/6 scale doll, which I like a lot. This doll has a good weight when held in your hands and is made of quality resin. Speaking of hands, this Kikipop dolls hands are magnetic!  The seller gave me two sets of hands- one pair with open palms, another with fists. I’m happy to report that the magnets are keeping the hands on good and tight! Like other BJD’s, you can change her eye color by opening her headcap and give her fun, new wigs whenever you’d like.

I love, love, love my new Kikipop Kinoko Juice doll. She’s one of the most adorable dolls I’ve ever seen and I’m happy to have one in my collection. I fully expect I’ll be adding more Kikipops to the mix in 2019!

Do you have a Kikipop Kinoko Juice doll? What do you think of her? Share your thoughts in the comment area!

 

 

 

January 9, 2019. Tags: . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Mattel Announces BTS Dolls

Heads up, K-Pop fans! Mattel recently announced that the incredibly popular world-renowned boy band BTS is headed to toy shelves this summer!

Per the official press release, “Under this multi-category license with BTS under its label, Big Hit Entertainment, Mattel will create dolls, collectible figures, games, and more. In the wake of sold out tours across the globe, the collaboration launches this summer with a first-ever BTS-inspired toy line created around the likenesses of the band’s seven members: RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V and Jung Kook. The dolls will be fashioned in the looks from the BTS’ iconic and YouTube record-breaking “IDOL” music video.” Note, the image below is just an image of BTS that I thought looked cool and may not reflect what they wear in IDOL. (I’m more of a k-drama fan than a k-pop fan!)

According to Billboard, Mattel stock increased by 8.26% following the announcement of this new line. Mattel VP and global brand general manager Sejal Shah Miller had this to say, “The cornerstone of our strategy is to partner with established franchises that have global appeal, and we believe that Mattel’s creative expertise will create a product that properly celebrates BTS.”

What do you think of this brand new collaboration? Are you excited?  Let us know in the comment area!

January 7, 2019. Tags: . Uncategorized. 10 comments.

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