Watching Toys R Us wither and die was one of the most sobering experiences I've ever had. By the time the franchise capsized, I was already familiar with the concept of death, but grappling with the demise of Toy R Us forced me to confront my mortality most unexpectedly. Prior to that point, certain institutions seemed impervious to time and the economic climate in my eyes. Even though I was far from becoming a father at the age of eight, I imagined that I would escort my rambunctious progeny down the aisles of Toys R Us when I was old enough to spawn. The death of Toys R Us instilled the impermanence and fragility of reality.
The first sign of Toys R Us' impending death came from watching their flagship in Times Square fold. At the time, I worked in Times Square and saw Toys R Us as the center of the tourist trap. For a while, Toys R Us seemed like the heart of Times Square, and suddenly it was gone. In the video linked above, the YouTube channel Defunctland explains how the Toys R Us flagship went under.