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New York Toys With Tourists, Gets New Hotel

January 20, 2002

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, New York City has been quietly expanding its tourist attractions and facilities. Major shopping emporiums aimed at children have opened in the last two months, and this month Ritz-Carlton plans to open a hotel about four blocks from the former World Trade Center site.

A huge new Toys R Us Times Square store is part of the area's efforts to reinvent itself as a family destination. The 110,000-square-foot building at 1514 Broadway, between 44th and 45th streets, has a 60-foot-tall Ferris wheel with neon lights, a two-story Barbie dollhouse and a 34-foot-long Tyrannosaurus rex that moves. Do we need to mention that you can also buy toys there? Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays. (800) 869-7787, inc.toysrus.com.

At 10 Rockefeller Plaza on 48th Street, Pokemon USA Inc. has opened its first U.S. store. Besides selling video games and other paraphernalia based on the Japanese cartoon characters, the store lets visitors try out Pokemon games on 42-inch screens and view hourly sound-and-light shows for free. It is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays. (212) 307-0900, www.pokemoncenter.com.

On Jan. 29 the $210-million Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, will open near the southern tip of Manhattan at 2 West St. near Battery Place. The 39-story glass-and-brick tower, New York's only Ritz-Carlton (until another opens this spring on Central Park) will offer views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor and, to the north, the former World Trade Center site. Besides a 298-room hotel, the tower will have 113 private condominiums.

The hotel has luxury touches such as a "bath butler" to draw baths and telescopes in some of the rooms. Reflecting its location near the financial district, room rates are higher on weekdays, starting at $325 per night versus $199 weekends. (800) 704-5643, www.ritzcarlton.com.

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