NEW YORK -- Mickey Mouse. Donald Duck. Eddie Eagle?
The cartoon eagle featured in a child-oriented gun safety program by the National Rifle Association could be landing in Times Square, not far from a Disney store.
At its annual convention in Charlotte, N.C., the NRA announced plans to open NRASports Blast, a ''brand merchandising venture'' in the heart of New York City.
The venture would offer virtual-reality trap and skeet shooting, outdoor clothing and hunting accessories. Adjacent to it would be a restaurant -- NRASports Grille -- featuring a wild game menu. But it won't sell guns.
''Anyone can open a restaurant here, and as long as it is a legal establishment we would certainly seek to make sure they are prosperous,'' said Brendan Sexton, the president of the Times Square Business Improvement District.
NRASports would join a slew of existing theme restaurants and stores, including ESPNZone, the All-Star Cafe and the WWF store. Not far away is a Harley Davidson restaurant, Mars 2112, Planet Hollywood and the Hard Rock Cafe.
''More Americans participate in shooting sports than in basketball, hockey, baseball, soccer and other sports,'' NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said at a news conference. LaPierre added that a lease had yet to be signed.
Some thought the theme could work well in New York, which for many is best symbolized by political slugfests, lunatic cab drivers, and dirty subways.
Others found the idea of opening an NRA outlet in the heart of New York City a bit unusual.
''What? Do you have to shoot at a menu to pick your meal?'' asked Carlos Azaceta, an advertising executive from Hoboken, N.J.
''I don't know quite how well this is going to work. But hey, this is New York. Anything goes,'' said Joyce Keller, a computer programmer from Manhattan.
Sexton expressed some concern.
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