Legoland opens new facility in Yonkers

March 27, 2013 3:49:47 PM PDT
You'll find more than just Legos at the new Legoland discovery center in Westchester.

You'll find more than just Legos at the new Legoland discovery center in Westchester.

The 32,000 square foot facility opened Wednesday in Yonkers, at Ridge Hill.

But there is some controversy surrounding its name: 'Legoland Discovery Center Westchester.'

It had all the trappings of a grand opening, but the gleaming $12 million attraction makes no mention of Yonkers.

The nine other Legoland discovery centers, from Kansas City to Toronto to Berlin, are all identified by their home city.

So is Lego trying to distance itself from Yonkers, a city with a gritty reputation?

Not so, says the facility's general manager.

'Yonkers Westchester, we're just looking for the widest demographic and the widest population size and Westchester is obviously a bigger area," said general manager Chris Mines.

There were nothing but smiles from elected officials at the opening, but the mayor of Yonkers did write the company a letter asking it to reconsider the name. No dice.

"We made a point, but at the end of the day Legoland has chosen Yonkers as their home, and that speaks volumes," said Yonkers mayor Mike Spano.

The facility is located in Ridge Hill, a sprawling 81 acre development featuring several high end stores.

And no, it makes no mention of where it's located either.

"No business today can survive simply on a city or a town. It has to survive on a whole region," said developer Bruce Ratner.

Regardless of the name, Yonkers will reap the benefit in the form of economic development.

100 jobs have been created and 350,000 visitors are expected each year, all spending money.

"I don't think it matters, it's really about the kids. They don't care where it is," said Valley Cottage resident Dave Lipari. "It's accessible to us, and we're happy about that."

Judging by the long lines, the crowds will keep coming, no matter what it's called.