My son is obsessed with magnetic tile toys. He builds all sorts of elaborate items with them, from trucks to car garages to towering buildings. Last night he dug up the “Imagination” booklet from one set of Playmags tiles that showed the various tile combinations that could create all sorts of structures … including the Twin Towers.
I did a double take, then a triple take, then texted the image to several people, all of whom agreed it was, at a minimum, highly unsettling to see.
The first question everyone asked was “How old is that booklet?”, meaning, did it predate 9/11/2001?
My son’s toy set came new in the box, but what we can’t determine is how long ago these toys were designed. If they’ve existed for 20 years, this could be an unfortunate printing oversight that no one has caught in the years since 9/11 occurred but nothing more.
If they’re relatively new, that leads to much more worrisome questions about why anyone thought it was a good idea to suggest children build (and then presumably tear down) replicas of the World Trade Center.
EDIT: We found the trademark registration for Playmags. It was registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2013! This doesn’t mean the product started then, but it does show that they should have been well aware of the context (especially since they are headquartered in Brooklyn!)
It doesn’t say World Trade Center, but I would venture the vast majority of Americans would immediately know where and to what “Twin Towers” references.
On a personal note, I was a bit shocked because I live in New Jersey and work for a company whose headquarters at the time was in the World Trade Center. I was in college during 9/11, but for most of the NY/NJ area, and especially for my firm, 9/11 and the twin towers have a very specific connotation.
As my mom rightly pointed out when I showed her the photo, “imagine having lost someone in the towers, and then having a grandchild ask you to build a replica of them … it just doesn’t sit right.”
I reached out to the company but haven’t heard back yet; if anyone knows how long they’ve been around and have been using this instruction booklet, let us know in the comments!