Toys R Us Times Square store on 17 February 2003, when New York area was blanketed with heaviest snowfall in seven years.
... The previous existence of another Times Square marquee, over the former Criterion Theater at 44th Street, provided the necessary precedent that allowed Toys “R“ Us to build a sign over the sidewalk outside its store, which includes the space occupied by the Criterion. (The sign was made by Saco Smartvision of Montreal, which was also responsible for the Nasdaq sign.)
The electronic sign is not the real scene-stealer, though. That distinction goes to a scrimlike mechanical sign system that changes the facade of Toys R Us Times Square constantly. “It’s low tech in theory, but after that, it’s more complicated than an L.E.D,” said Philip Lenger of Show & Tell Productions of Manhattan, which created the Toys “R” Us signs. The store was designed by Gensler.
The chamfer-cornered sign is a grid of 165 sections, each 30 square feet, behind a glass curtain wall. Within each section is a 48-foot-long scroll between motorized rollers made by the Diazit Company, better known for blueprint machines. The scrolls, changed monthly, are imprinted with seven different images and also have one clear panel, so that the entire facade can be made transparent. Elliott Wahle, vice president and general manager of the Times Square store, said that the sign would eventually become a profit center on its own as a showcase for toymakers.