Councilman John Larkin plans to introduce legislation Tuesday calling for Lego’s soon-to-open amusement space at the Ridge Hill shopping mall to be renamed, after its host city, “Legoland Discovery Center in Yonkers.”
The company’s $12 million northeast Yonkers attraction — its first Discovery Center in New York — is instead dubbed “Legoland Discovery Center Westchester,” irking leaders of a city that has long struggled to get past its negative public image.
Larkin said Lego should be proud to be in Yonkers. “Not giving us any credit is a form of disrespect for the city.”
Mayor Mike Spano has voiced similar concerns.
Larkin said marketing the new center as a “Westchester” attraction rather than a Yonkers one pours salt on a wound last opened when Ridge Hill similarly dubbed itself “Westchester’s Ridge Hill.”
But a Legoland spokeswoman said the naming decision is not a snub to Yonkers — it’s just meant to reflect the attraction’s regional appeal, in keeping with the example set by Ridge Hill.
“Legoland Discovery Center remains honored to be in Yonkers, and we look forward to opening our doors on March 27 to children and families from the city of Yonkers and beyond,” said Chris Mines, the attraction’s general manager.
The Yonkers location is the only Legoland in the world not named after a city.
While six of the other nine locations — Atlanta, Kansas City, Manchester, Tokyo, Berlin and Oberhausen — are located in their namesake cities, the Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth and Toronto centers are in nearby towns.
Yonkers has been dogged by reputation problems dating back at least to the 1980s when the city defied a federal court order to desegregate its public schools and fell into such fiscal trouble it was twice placed under a state financial control board.
More recent political scandals have further tarnished the city’s image, including former Councilwoman Sandy Annabi being convicted of federal corruption charges. She was convicted of taking $200,000 in bribes, in part, for changing her vote on the Ridge Hill development now set to host Legoland.
CAPTION: Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, center, is joined by Councilman Dennis Shepherd, left, and James Burleigh of Merlin Entertainments as Lego bricks are unleashed at the Oct. 17 groundbreaking in Yonkers.