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Long Island show is bliss for vintage toy collectors

The Hofstra University Student Center on Saturday, July 15, 2017, hosted the Long Island Toy Show, an annual event featuring vendors selling toys, comic books, movies and video games -- many of them decades old. Credit: Newsday / Raychel Brightman

Tammy McMahon thought she was coming to the Long Island Toy Show on Saturday for her children’s sake.

And sure enough, Kaylyn, 8, and William, 4, enjoyed themselves, gradually filling a Spider-Man lunch box with action figures and race cars to add to their collection.

But then McMahon, an accountant from Smithtown, saw a Troll Doll with bright yellow hair and a gilded midriff — like the ones from her childhood.

“It’s so hard to find one with the gem in the belly!” said McMahon, 31, justifying her purchase.

Nostalgia motivated many transactions at the seventh annual Long Island Toy Show at the Hofstra University Student Center in Hempstead. Organizers expected more than 500 people Saturday to peruse the tables of 40 vendors, stacked with toys, comic books, movies and video games — many of them decades old.

“To be able to play that video game that you played when you were 12 . . . that’s something that you like to relive,” said David Trustey, the show’s creator, explaining its appeal.

Thus the many adults in attendance, said Trustey, 40, an engineer who himself boasts a collection of vintage action figures in the thousands.

The recent success of movies inspired by comic books and the continuation of the “Star Wars” saga have intensified interest in geeky pop culture memorabilia, Trustey said.

Events catering to that interest used to be rare on Long Island, he said. “Now I feel like there’s something every weekend.”

Chris Feehan visits many of them — often dressed head to toe as a stormtrooper.

“It’s a way to not be an IT manager for a day,” said Feehan, 45, of Mineola, explaining his “Star Wars”-inspired get-up.

Feehan was joined at the show by other members of the 501st Legion, an international “volunteer costume organization” that raises money for charity at such events by posing for photographs, for example.

But even those working at the show allowed themselves to enjoy it.

“Hopefully, before I leave it’ll quiet down and I can take a look around,” said Maria Abbott, a New Jersey toy shop owner with a table at the show and a few holes in her own toy collection that she wanted to fill.

“That’s part of the fun.”

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