FAO Schwarz's 5th Avenue Location Is Closing, And Here Are Five Things We'll Miss About It
You've probably heard by now that FAO Schwarz's 5th Avenue location is closing. The iconic toy store couldn't stay afloat in light of rising rents due to the area's uberluxury retailers and the proliferation of online toy purchasing. As sad as it might be, the truth is obvious: People just aren't going to toy stores anymore.
While Toys R Us, FAO Schwarz's former competitor turned parent company as of 2009, scours the city for a new, less expensive location, the current location has plans to close on July 15, ending a run that began in 1870. There are rumors that the company is looking at a location at 16th St. and Broadway, but nothing has been confirmed or signed; and even if it does come to fruition, it appears unlikely that a new store will open before 2016.
Customers will still be able to purchase FAO Schwarz products at FAO Schwarz boutiques in Toys R Us stores and on the FAO Schwarz website, but everyone knows that the whole point of going to FAO Schwarz was that it was so cool inside. With so many displays and live events, the place felt more like an amusement park than a toy store. Here's are the five things that we're going to miss most about it:
1. The Piano
I think the first thing that went through everyone's mind when they heard that FAO Schwarz was closing was, "Oh noes! I'll never be able to reenact that scene from Big again!" The iconic scene takes place on the giant, second floor FAO Schwarz piano, and has long been a draw for visitors.
2. The Creepy Baby Nursery
You haven't lived until you've seen the really scary baby doll nursery at FAO Schwarz. The people who work there are dressed as nurses, and the customizable dolls are kept in little hospital cribs. It's remarkably realistic — and also kind of terrifying. But it's all part of the experience, right?
3. FAO Schweetz
Some people think of Dylan's Candy Bar when they think of candy shops in New York, but the real experts know that the bottom floor of FAO Schwarz houses FAO Schweetz, an old-timey candy shop where dreams come true.
4. The Giant Stuffed Animals
Make a wrong turn in FAO Schwarz and you might come face to face with a life-sized, plush lion or elephant. All these animals are actually for sale, if you're willing to shell out a couple thousand dollars for a stuffed animal. The sadistic part of me hopes that since the store is closing, they'll start selling their giant stuffed animals at steep discounts, enabling me to finally achieve my dream of opening a giant, life-sized, stuffed animal zoo. Also please enjoy the picture of 12-year-old me above hugging an FAO Schwarz hippo.
5. The Door Guards
The guys who stand at the doors of FAO Schwarz are dressed up in full British military garb (unclear why, though, since Frederick August Otto Schwarz was German), including a red coat and bearskin hat. Unlike the guards at the real Buckingham Palace, however, the FAO Schwarz door guards are fun and like to give out high fives.
Images: FAO Schwarz/ Facebook (3)