Monday, December 10, 2012

First Ever 'TOYS ON THE HUDSON' Show Review

I'm a geeky toy collector, and to have toys of your own characters is unbelievably cool
     ~Craig McCracken 

There’s now way to put it.  Since the destruction of Superstorm Sandy, the New York / New Jersey area has seen better days.

The storm wasn’t a secluded catastrophe.  The widespread damage you saw on TV was, well, truly widespread.  If you didn’t lose power or your town wasn’t terribly hit, you know someone who was affected in some way.

Just so much damaged was caused…in such little time.

As days went on we saw the horror on television and the pictures posted online.  The sadness was just overwhelming. 

Thanksgiving felt a little bit more important this year than in previous years. We truly needed to be thankful for what we did have. The time of reflection was much needed, but I’ll admit to being greedy.  I needed something a little more.  Something to smile at.  Something fun.  Something that would make me forget about all the sadness for just a little while.

Bring in, ‘Toys on the Hudson’.

You might recall a blog I did a few months back about the ‘Wayne Toy and Collectibles’ show.  Well this is organized by the same guys, but taken up a notch.

Here’s my YouTube video so you can truly see all the fun of the show…

I’d like to break the show down a little more though. 

            You really get  a full out family vibe from this show.  It’s a great way to teach kids how to be collector or to just let their curiosity wander.  I’d certainly bring my kid to this show (If I had one that is).
            With all of these families you have a lot of happy go lucky people walking around.  No one is causing a problem.  No one is cursing you out for bumping into them.  Best of all, people are just overall happy and laughing.  The only way it could’ve been better is if someone brought in a pet unicorn that pooped out candy.

            As I mentioned, it’s the same guys from the previous show, and it’s the same great people running this one.  All of them were constantly running around either helping vendors get to their location, or guests find a particular table or item.
As for the vendors…same thing.  Really nice people with great prices. I didn’t buy that much, but when I did, I had trouble bargaining.  Don’t get the wrong idea.  I’m great at haggeling, but the prices were such a great deal that shooting out another number would be a real douchebag move.
One thing I want to just mention is this older couple who sold mostly vintage Disney merchandise.  They were just the sweetest thing and they helped me with a great Christmas gift for someone that loves Disney.  Not to sound like a mush…but it was the cutest thing seeing these two.  I wanted to give them a hug for simply being so awesome.

            The saying is true.  Size really does matter.  If every show could be the same size as ‘Toys on the Hudson’, I’d truly be a happy man.  At best, I would describe it as medium size.  You never felt as if you were jam packed into a small space, or overwhelmed by a crowd.  It’s one of the main reasons I plan on going back to this show.

            For a medium size venue…They sure packed in an array of items.  You had Disney collectibles from the 30’s, you had recently sold out items at Toys ‘R’ Us, custom art, celebrity signing and so much more.  If nothing at this show interested you…I suggest getting your eyes checked.            

            It’s usually pretty easy to get in and out of Jersey City.  It’s only a pain when the Holland Tunnel is extremely backed up, and at most, it’s more of an annoyance.  Sandy though made it a bitch.  The PATH train was still shut down at the time.  So I had to drive in.  I feel like it’s worth pointing out that SIRI took me to the wrong address.  F’n bitch!

            I swear to you…I’m in no way related to the guys that run the show, nor am I paid for any blog that I’ve ever written. 
            I’m letting you know that because when I talk about their toy shows, it’s on par with a little kid going to Disney World for the first time.
            That being said…may god have mercy on your soul for not visiting ‘Toys on the Hudson’.  This might be a little extreme, but I’m trying to emphasis my point here. 
            Fuck the hastle of ebay.  Part of collecting is the adventure of finding a particular item…the knowledge you gain from fellow collectors…the sense of accomplishment when you finally find what you’re looking for. 
            If you happen to live in the New York / New Jersey area…check this show out.  I promise that you'll have an amazing time, and great memories.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Ever see a television show promo and just cringe at the premise?  It’s pretty easy nowadays In the world of reality TV and "entertainment news".

The hilarity of some shows is off the charts. I don't watch TV often, but when I do, I see some real train wrecks. 

Soon as I saw a particular show promo, I grunted in disgust at it.

That show is "Collection Intervention". 

The premise of the show is as follows...

“Collection Intervention follows Elyse Luray, former Head of the Collectibles Department at Christie's, as she helps couples, families and individuals whose pop-culture memorabilia collections – from Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica to Catwoman and Barbie – have become damaging obsessions, creating financial strife and a huge strain on their lives. 

Elyse will create a strategy that helps these collectors curate and showcase their collection by assessing where the true value lies and then allow them to decide what's worth keeping and what they can sell. 

These massive collections include dining rooms stuffed with 30,000 comic books, a garage filled to the rafters with Catwoman memorabilia, and an almost uninhabitable house filled with Transformers. 

For each collector, parting with some of their collection may free up some much needed space in their home, provide cash windfall to get out of debt, or even just allow a  couple to become more focused on their relationship.

Watch what happens when seemingly harmless collections become uncontrollable obsessions!”

- Via Show website

Now yes, the majority, if not all of reality television has writers, and is staged (Oh say it ain't so).  Mix that in with the trickery of video editing, and well, stories can be easily twisted. 

That being said, I'd like to call shenanigans on "Collection Intervention". You hear me?


Mario enjoying NY Comic Con
On the season finale of the show’s first season, the spotlight was on DC inker Marlo Alquiza.  

When the show first approached him about being on, he was told it was called "Master Collector".  A very different title and emphasis on the show. 

They twisted his hobby/life into a problem that needs to be cured.


Mario wrote to the show saying...

“Hey guys! I didn’t even know this aired already! LOL! Oh man! You don’t know me… You don’t know me! So embarrassing! I don’t even get SyFy, so I’ll have to get a copy somewhere!
Let’s just say when I was approached, the show was called Master Collectors… after the shoot, I find out it’s gonna be called Collection Intervention! WTF!

Then there’s all the crap they made us do. My wife was still jet lagged from coming home the day before from the Philippines, so she was not happy! My left foot was injured which is why I’m now in a cast, but they didn’t care. It was 3 days of hell! Oh boy!”

- Via:

So mix his innocence/unawareness with some simple voice over editing, and you can tell whatever story you want. 

As a news producer, I understand some of the battles and problems that these show producers must be facing. Since their jobs are temporarily based, more are worried about putting food on the table and how they'll pay upcoming bills. 

Some great sculptures in Mario's collection
I understand a producers problems, but whatever happened to credibility and integrity?!?!?! 

My father is a carpenter, and took me on side jobs the day after I turned thirteen.  He taught me that I should care about anything that has my name attached to it.  For the simple reason that the end result shows your work ethic and the type of person you truly are.

Unfortunately for some, it’s easier to turn a blind eye instead of just giving a damn. 

I do my f’n best day in and out to produce the best TV news possible.  It’s just one reason why I have no trouble saying, “Go fuck yourself Collection Intervention.”

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


“Nicky, when I was your age --  a ball game cost less than a buck, the Verrazano Bridge was only 50-cents when it opened & a movie cost just nickel.  Sorry Nicky, but you kids are seriously screwed.”
     - Grandpa Monte

When I was a kid – I didn’t really understand what my grandfather meant by that statement.  Now that gas is $4 a gallon, and a Blu-Ray costs upwards of $30, I know exactly what he meant.  I may not know how it feels to watch a movie for a nickel, but I miss paying $7 as a kid, compared to $12 now. Oh to be able to relive those childhood memories.

For two dollars though, you can! It's such a great deal that even Grandpa Monte would approve.

Wish I bought this Donald Duck
For just a measly $2, you can visit the 'Wayne NJ Toy & Collectible Show'. It's much cheaper than a time traveling DeLorean, and you don't have to worry about bumping into your parents at the wrong time. 

Multiple dealers would tell me…
“Here you’ll find genuine and different types of items.”
“Literally something’s here for everyone.” 
“Besides the items, you find great energy.  It’s a little show and I love it.  Collectors and merchants are always happy and eager to help one another.”

Just when I thought my toy hood nostalgia couldn’t get any better -- I saw a mass 80's toys collection and was in awe.
Then I saw a ton of must have comics - well I figured that'll be the highlight of the show. 
That was till - I saw the classic tin toys. 

I couldn't run over fast enough at this lot

After walking from table to table I discovered an array of collectibles; it was truly a sight to see. 

Makes me wonder why people stick purely to sites like eBay and don’t give shows/conventions a second thought.  The seller of ‘PD Classic DVDs’ only sees positives when it comes to shows like this one.  “You get to know the sellers.  They take care of their products, and want to help you.  Besides that, you get to hold the item you’re interested in, meet people who share your passion and become smarter in the field.  It’s a special thing.”

As the show went on I heard more and more people laughing and talking about particular items.  At one point the old school Nintendo became a topic of conversation; so of course I got into the middle of that one.
Someone buy me these comics please.

I do love reading my comics, but I also enjoy reading the Wall Street Journal (not to the same degree obviously).  So I had to ask the dealers how much the show helps them. 

“These shows definitely help dealers and the community in general.  People on the way here stopped at a local Dunkin Donuts; that’s money spent locally.  When people leave they’ll likely stop by the flea market across the street; that’s more money spent locally.  Besides that, dealers get their name out, and the better off they become,” ‘PD Classic DVD’s’ seller added.

‘Absolute Best Collectibles’ also said, “Small businesses gets a boost in a hurting economy.  Any commerce is positive.”


Crowd: 10
-       It was remarkably easy to navigate throughout the show.  To top it off, the other people were extremely courteous, kind & helpful; very Boy Scout like.  Really couldn’t ask for anything more.  Even Kitty Pryde (aka Shadowcat), who can phase through people, couldn’t have had an easier time.

 Staff: 10
- Know how I just praised the crowd?  Well that goes double for the staff. You couldn’t ask for a nicer group of people to run a show.  The only thing nicer than the staff though, was the bacon, egg & cheese the kitchen staff made for me.  It’s nice being able to order food at all times of the day.  When the sandwich you order is one of your major highlights, well life’s just grand.

 Size of Show: 6
- It was a good size show that was attached to a fire house.  Honestly, I thought it was going to be much smaller, but in fact, it was a little bit bigger than the Asbury Con I visited a few weeks ago prior.  The size worked out for the best; with so much merchandise to take in, any more probably would’ve been over bearing.

Vendor Quality: 9

Probably my favorite childhood memory of the show
- While walking around the show I was consistently doing one thing, looking at random merchandise and saying to myself, “Oh my mom would like that.  Wow that’ll be awesome for my buddy Paul.  Holy ish I’d kill to own this.” There was literally something for everybody at this show.  From old classic tin toys to merchandise recently sold out at a Toys “R” Us, you get a real nice variety to pick from. If I had to be picky – I wish they had more Ghostbuster toys.  Again, that’s being picky.  If I was a Transformers guy – I would’ve given multiple dealers my future kids for the toys they had.
Getting In/Out: 10
- Right off several major highways, making it very easy to get to.  Really – Can it get any better than that?  Oh wait it does – FREE PARKING!!!  Sorry for getting so excited, it’s the little things in life that make me happy.

Atmosphere: 7
- In terms of atmosphere, you can’t compare it to the Asbury Convention.  To be fair though – All of Asbury Park has a classic throw back look.  Wayne New Jersey is a different story.  The lights shining out of the fire department’s bay doors, before the sun came up, was absolutely stunning.  Which to me, as a guy who grew up with a photographer as a father, was just gorgeous. 

- It’s hard NOT to say enough good things about this show, or is  their?  Every time the show is held, money goes to the local firehouse to meet its ever-demanding rise of cost for operation.   COME ON...WHAT MORE CAN YOU ASK FOR?!?!  So get off your ass on a Sunday morning, have a giant pot of coffee ready & get ready to have an amazing experience.