Brooklyn’s biggest toy museum is offering free tours — just don’t expect to get your foot in the door.
Canarsie native Alan Brody has amassed over 1,000 vintage toys, some over a century old, but he’s spent so much money on the antique playthings, he can only show them off online.
“I don’t have the finance or the backing to have a physical toy museum,” said Brody. “Maybe one day. But everybody has computers today. It gives me a chance to give it away for free. I want people to go there and enjoy it, and that gives me enjoyment.”
The mostly WWII-era toy collection — altogether worth more than $100,000 — took Brody nearly seven years to accumulate and features some rare finds, including the original Monopoly Board and the first ever Mickey Mouse clock, which could easily fetch $1,000 each on the antique toy market.
One benefit of the online-only museum — aside from the low upkeep — is that it allows Brody to dedicate space on his website to the prized antique toys of other collectors, many of which have an interesting story of their own.
“There’s a woman in Brooklyn with a toy horse, a little ride-on horse she’d owned as a child, and her family had given it away,” the collector explained. “But, she found the very-same one on Coney Island Ave. and repurchased it for $60. So I dedicated that photograph with her story on the website. How many other museums will do that for you?”
But antique toys aren’t Brody’s only passion — he’s been collecting everything from comics to coins since he was a 12-year-old kid in Canarsie.
“When I was twelve I collected comic books. Then, from comic books, I went to baseball cards, then I went to American coins. Then, from American coins, I went back to baseball cards. Eventually I started collecting horror dolls. I have about 600 action figures and dolls never opened. After that, I bought one toy off of eBay, I believe it was a Barclay lead tank, and that’s where I started for some reason. I bought another item, and another item — I don’t know how I’ve ended up where I am now.”
Where Brody’s fancies will turn next, not even he could say. One thing, however, is certain — his collections aren’t growing any smaller.
“I’m always getting new toys,” he said. “It never ends.”
Brooklyn Toy Museum. Visit www.brooklyntoymuseum1.com