In July of 2015, one of the most famous toy stores in the world, FAO Schwarz, closed its last location, which was located on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Many locals and tourists mourned the loss of the legendary store, which featured both moderately-priced toys, like Barbies and board games, along with higher-priced items, such as life-sized stuffed animals and high-tech robots.
FAO Schwarz even earned a place in movie history when it was featured in the 1988 film Big. In one of the flick's most famous scenes, actors Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia play around on a giant floor piano that makes music when jumped upon.
Now the company is back in Manhattan with a new flagship location, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, that officially opened its doors on Friday, November 16. The store has a prime spot near the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and ice skating rink, NBC's studios, Radio City Music Hall, and other major retailers.
Human toy soldiers — in newly-designed uniforms created by model Gigi Hadid — are stationed outside of FAO Schwarz's main entrance, and the inside spans 20,000 square feet over two-and-a-half floors, with the same atmosphere as the original NYC shop, according to Money.The store's décor features a mixture of staples from the old location and some modern touches, including a musical clock tower, a 27-foot-tall rocket ship, and colorful stairs.
In addition to toys from their own line, 15 other popular brands are sold at the store, including Hasbro, Mattel, and Spin Master. There's even a Build-A-Bear workshop. And, yes, the Big piano is back — and its mirrored and larger than before.The New York Daily News noted that the highest-priced toy in the store is a $25,000 child-sized Mercedes-Benz adorned with 44,000 Swarovski crystals.
David Niggli, FAO Schwarz's chief merchandising officer, said the core of the store is "the classics, plus the 'Oh wow!' things you've never seen before."There are several interactive experiences for children and the young at heart, explained NBC 4 New York. The Discovery Science Lab showcases various experiments. The Alex Bath and Hair Spa has beauty products that can be tested and shoppers can even create their own signature lotion or bath bomb. The DIY Race Car pit has "trained mechanics" to help speed junkies build customizable vehicles. Marvin's Magic Corner features demonstrations so budding magicians can properly do tricks for friends and family. And the Baby Adoption Center has "nurses" to assist with choosing the right doll and filling out the required paperwork.
FAO Schwarz's owners, ThreeSixty Brands, plan to expand the brand to Canada, China, Europe, and Australia with both regular and pop-up shops.