- FAO Schwarz, the iconic toy retailer that closed its Fifth Avenue flagship store in 2015, reopened its doors at 30 Rockefeller Plaza last week.
- The store is known for its upscale toy selection and has been around for over 150 years.
- In addition to the giant toy selection, FAO Schwarz has a Build-A-Bear Workshop, candy store, and its famous walk-on piano. Here’s what it’s like to visit.
FAO Schwarz, the world’s most iconic toy store, is back in New York.
Founded in 1862, FAO Schwarz was known in New York City for its upscale and expensive toys. The Fifth Avenue flagship store first opened in 1986 as a tourist attraction, complete with a theme song, musical clock tower, and doormen dressed as palace guards.
In 2009, FAO Schwarz was purchased by the now-defunct Toys R Us, which sold the entire FAO Schwarz brand to Threesixty Group, a product developer and distributor, in 2016. But in 2015, the iconic store announced that it would shut down due to rising rental costs.
The new store, which opened on November 16, was developed by Threesixty Group. The three-floor, 20,000-square-foot space at 30 Rockefeller Plaza is complete with larger-than-life stuffed animals and the walk-on piano keyboard seen in the 1988 movie “Big” with Tom Hanks. Threesixty did not disclose the terms of the new store’s lease, but it was previously reported to be long-term.
In addition to its huge selection of Barbie dolls, plush toys, puzzles, and countless other toys, the space also offers shoppers in-store experiences like a Build-A-Bear Workshop station, a mini nail salon, and a Discovery science station. The first floor is also home to a massive candy shop.
We visited the store in its opening week. Here’s what it was like.
FAO Schwarz re-opened on Friday at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, about five blocks south of its previous location.
When I visited the store on Monday, the line to get in stretched more than halfway down the block.
I had to wait almost 40 minutes to get into the store.
When I walked in, the store was packed with shoppers.
The front of the store is lined with stuffed animals.
But they aren’t cheap — even the smallest plush toys cost around $US25.
Some of the stuffed animals in the store are massive.
Also in the front of the store are some FAO Schwarz-brand Christmas products like model trees, snowmen, and lights.
A centrepiece of the store was a model rocket that kids are able to climb in. The inside is lined with lights and mirrors, and kids were running in and out of the rocket and taking photos in it.
Further back on the first floor is a magic shop that will occasionally put on magic shows …
… a grocery store for kids and wall of play sets …
… and a huge candy store.
The candy shop carries products like giant slices of gummy pizza and boxes of all-pink Starburst and Sour Patch Kids.
The second floor carries newer toys like Hatchimals …
… and more traditional toys like stuffed animals by Steiff, which cost as much as $US30 for the smallest toys.
Up one more floor is a wall of puzzles …
… and a huge selection of Barbie products.
The top floor also has a Discovery science station …
… a Build-A-Bear workshop …
… and a mini nail salon for kids.
One of the busiest parts of the store when we went was the giant walk-on piano, made famous by the 1988 movie “Big” with Tom Hanks.
There were registers on each floor — and long lines at each.
All three floors of the store were bustling before the holidays, and the store had many elements that made the original flagship such a massive attraction.
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