NEW YORK – Three years after it closed its favorite toy store on Fifth Avenue, FAO Schwarz returns to New…
NEW YORK – Three years after it closed its favorite toy store on Fifth Avenue, FAO Schwarz returns to New York.
A new FAO opened Friday in Manhattan Rockefeller Center, about 10 blocks from its former home near Central Park.
For more than 150 years, FAO Schwarz was famous in New York City for its elegant and sometimes extravagant expensive toys. The Fantasyland store opened on Fifth Avenue in 1
986 and was a tourist attraction, filled with its own themed singing, doormen who looked like palace guards and a musical bell tower. Financial problems with the parent company and rising rents closed that store in 2015, but FAO is now returning from the worst economic downturn since its founding in 1862.
In the past weeks at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, workers drilled, hammered and saw 24 hours a day to Get the new store ready. Employees filled shelves with hundreds of plush animals that have long defined the bears, the rabbits, the elephants, the chickens and much more. The large entrance clock tower has returned. And on the second level of 20,000 square feet of space is a giant piano keyboard mat like Tom Hanks danced on “Heart and Soul” in the 1988 movie “Big.” & # 39; & # 39;
The 20-foot long instrument with 60 keys is reflected on the ceiling for people in the square below to see. Replica for sale costs $ 128.
There is also a toy shop where children can shop for artificial products, complete with small trolleys, safes and kitchen utensils. For $ 75, another interactive station allows children to adopt baby dolls, while a “nurse” gives lessons on how to care about them.
Live magic shows will be organized nearby, next to a location for mounting your own remote controlled cars. A 27-foot high rocket ship stems with radiant bear astronauts.
& # 39; & # 39; We are about experiences. That’s what’s different from other toy shops, “said David Niggli, FAO’s chief dealer.
In a global marketing store, popup FAO stores also open for holidays in England, Spain and Australia. A march roll is planned for a permanent store at a Beijing shopping mall in addition to smaller retail locations in airports and elsewhere throughout the United States and Canada.
FAO Schwarz has undergone several company-wide companies in recent years as retailers struggled to adapt to online sales. It was purchased in 2002 by Right Start Inc., which was filed for bankruptcy twice. Toys & # 39; & # 39; R & # 39; & # 39; Us was the next owner. FAO was founded in 1862 by German immigrant Frederick August Otto Schwarz, who specialized in high-end toys, some imported from Europe.
At the 20th century, in stores across the country, fancy articles included a $ 1500 jeweled Etch-A-Sketch and a Barbie theme, pink $ 25,000 football game.
There are some extravagant items to have
& # 39; & # 39; We have lovely craftsmen here, like rocking horses, but we also have items that are $ 10, & # 39; & # 39; said Niggli. & # 39; & # 39; There will always be some of the top things. I think it’s part of what you come to FAO to see. It’s part of the magic. & # 39; & # 39;
The most luxurious item sold can be a child-sized Mercedes Benz powered by 44,000 Swarovski crystals. Base price: $ 25,000.
& # 39; & # 39; That is the essence of the FAO. It’s the classic plus “oh wow” things you’ve never seen before, said niggli.