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I have visitted FAO Schwarz in New York several times now during some shopping trips to the city. It is located at 767 5th Avenue at 58th Street and is close to Central Park making it quite easy to locate.
The first time I visited this store I was very impressed and amazed by the variety of toys available. There were a lot of toys aimed at the wealthy and whilst I could never afford these kinds of toys they were still great to look at. When you first enter you can't help but notice the life size stuffed cuddly animals. Whilst my kids loved soft toys, I think I would have to draw the line at having a life size giraffe or elephant in their bedroom, but if you have both the money and the room for these in your home then they are amazing. Around these they do have a soft toy display with regular sized stuffed toys which also feature a much more reasonable price tag.
As I ventured upstairs, I saw what I had been looking forward to seeing, this was the giant piano as featured in the Tom Hanks film Big. There was a huge queue for this though full of kids who looked so excited I think I would have felt guilty parading up and down the keys whilst a 5 year old had to wait for me to have my turn. Instead I watched one of the displays which are held throughout the day by two members of staff who play several pieces of music on the piano between them.
Also upstairs were some luxury childrens cars. These are high class cars but made in childrens sizes and as you can expect this is reflected in the cost. They had all the latest sportscars displayed on rotating platforms. They looked fantastic, but my son and daughter seem quite satisfied with their Little Tikes cosy coupe car and I dont think that them having a child size range rover with heated leather seats and six disc cd changer would improve their enjoyment that much!
Downstairs came my favourite part of the store, the ice cream parlour and milkshake bar. These were amazing. It took some time to get a seat but wow was it worth it. I ordered a chocolate milkshake for $10 which came served in the largest ice cream sundae dish you can imagine. It was that large that it came with three straws each of varying lengths so that you could reach the bottom. There were numerous scoops of different kinds of chocolate ice cream all coated in milk, cream and various toppings. I couldnt manage it all, but the amount I did manage certainly left a lasting impression.
My first visit to this store was in June 2005 and this was definitely the best visit I had here. I recently returned in February this year and was very disappointed that the standard was nowhere near as high. The cars are no longer in the store and the piano has now moved to this area. They have also now introduced the photo opportunity at the piano where if you want your photo to be taken on it then you have to pay for it as opposed to taking your own photos. It is also in a much more compact space and seems quite hidden away as opposed to the hustle and bustle that surrounded it on my first visit. The ice cream parlour has now also disappeared and has been changed into a large pick and mix. There was no where near the same atmosphere and excitement surrounding the store in my latest visit and I only ended being their for around ten minutes, where as previously I could have easily spent a couple of hours here.
Overall, it is still a great place for kids, but I wont be bothering to visit here again in the near future.
I got really excited about visiting the FAO Schwarz in New York as it features in one of my all time favourite films - Big.
I really wanted to have a go on the huge piano that Tom Hanks plays chopsticks on. However when I saw the piano I was a little dissapointed! It wasn't like the one in the film and it was really difficult to get on to have ago. They do daily displays where they dance which is quite fun to watch though!
Anyway, once I'd got over my dissapointment at not being able to go on the giant keyboard we were able to have a mooch around the rest of the store.
It's like no other toy store I've ever been in. This isn't really the toy store to go to unless you are prepared to pay a pretty penny (or should I say cent) for a toy!
As you enter the main doors the first thing you notice are the lifesize stuffed animals! These are brilliant for a photo opportunity but they cost a fortune, but if you had a house big enough for something like this, then I guess money isn't really a problem!
They also have little electric sports cars and hummers for a couple of grand! I remember sitting in a little pedal car and getting stuck in the mud! None of that with these bad boys!
There are always staff around to help you out if you need anything and they demonstrate some of the smaller more reasonably priced toys. They put on quite a display and it's really enjoyable to watch even as an adult as they look like they're having great fun.
I have to say though the best part about the store is the ice cream parlour located on the ground floor. I always tend to think about my belly and this was a right treat!
The theming of the parlour is brilliant, it's styled like a 50's diner with the booths and stools at the bar. Me and my husband both had the "small" bowl of ice cream.
The small bowl was definately what you could consider an american portion! It was rather big and it was Mr Whippy style ice cream but probably about the equivilant to 4 scoops! You could have any sauces and toppings that you wanted, so I took full advantage of this and had hot fudge sauce, M&Ms and sprinkles (100's and 1000's to us)! I did start to feel rather sick half way through but powered on to finish, it was the polite thing to do!
It's definately a store to visit in New York but we didn't come away with anything apart from a very full tummy as the toys were all a bit pricey!
Much hyped Toy Store that doesn't quite live up to expectations. Don't get me wrong its not bad but we visited the place this Christmas and were a bit disappointed. There just isn't the range of toys that you would expect. We were hoping for lots of new and different stuff than we would find in the UK. Worth a visit, particularly at Christmas, however if you really want to find a better selection of toys then go to Hamleys in London or your Local Toys'R'Us.
A few weeks ago, during my visit to New York City, I had a look in FAO Schwartz …twice! I loved it, there are only three floors, but each floor is huge, and packed. There are free demonstrations; however the popular illusion that they let you try whatever you want is false. They do however allow you to try out the latest Playstation, Dreamcast, and N64 games ,for free. When I went, they had one of those scooters on the bottom floor for people to try out. My big buy was one of those indoor Quazar things. I got it for $50, and it’s really fun! However, my favourite thing about the store, even better than the console demos was that half of the top floor is dedicated to candy! They have all kinds of sweets and goodies; kinds that I never knew existed! They had “m ‘n m” pick and mix, with every different colour in a different box. They had colours that you don’t get in normal packs; white, turquoise, etc. They had a different kind of pick and mix as well… chocolate. They had chocolate covered Oreos, chocolate covered marshmallows and so many other things. It was really amazing! The shop as a whole was great, and there really was something for everybody, they had adult board games as well as baby toys. This is an amazing place!!! (Bear it in mind that if you go with the kids, that they might make you stay a little longer than you had planned, so go on a free afternoon for an hour or two.)
FAO Schwarz is advertised as being the world's greatest toystore. Personally I'd rate Hamleys of London higher, but it was nonetheless a great visit for my children. The unique selling point, according to the literature we read, was the store rule that "any kid can play with any toy." This was not obvious in the shop - although nobody appeared to be stopping anyone from doing what they wanted, it would have felt quite uncomfortable to start unwrapping a boxed toy and asking for batteries! But there were plenty of working demos. All the toys you could think of were there, and there is also a large candy department in the middle of the store. The atmosphere is good, there are easily locatable washrooms, definitely a visit worth doing with any children up to the age of 30 or so.
No visit to Manhattan is complete without a visit to FAO Schwarz, especially if you have kids... it was top of my kids list-of-things-to-do in the Big Apple, and we went there at least 4 times during our stay. FAO Schwarz is the toyshop to beat all toy shops....the *mother* of all toy shops, no toy shop will ever seem quite the same after coming here! If Barbie is your thing, then there's a whole *floor* nearly, devoted only to the pink and glittery......if soft toys are what you want to cuddle, then the ground floor will not be easy to pass through without stopping to lift the little (and the not so little) creatures off the shelves for a quick hug....you have never *seen* so many teddies, elephants,dogs,cats, you name it, under one roof.. I could run through the floors and delights which await you and your kids under this one roof, but the opinion would become a tome....better just to say go see it! Whatever you want will be there unless it's the latest craze, in which case you may need to make a few visits or even queue to be sure of getting it :-) As well as toys, there is candy galore, and a lot of fun things to see, like a giant piano keyboard you can jump on, a furby bigger than 10 children and a transparent lift as well as a famous clock! Finally, it wouldn't be an opinion from me if I didn't note that there is an excellent bargain dept, where you can pick up toys and grown-up gifts for a *tiny* fraction of the price...go search it out! Oh, and be careful to keep an eye on kids - the place is *enormous* - best arrange a place to meet should anyone get lost!
Ah, toy shops! They bring back wonderful memories but in all honesty it's a kick to visit them always. FAO Schwarz in New York is world famous by now. Perched on Fifth Avenue it's like an Aladdin's Cave of stuffed toys, big toy cars, electronic games, fancy doll sets, action men hanging off the walls...everything any kid or grown up kid could ask for is in here. It's always packed and there's plenty of chances to try out the coolest toys thanks to the friendly fun atmoshpere. If you're around Fifth Avenue on a trip to New York pop into this shop, at least for a few minutes. It'll make you smile, you can't help it with the sense of fun that oozes out of this place....now excuse me as I'm off to make a list for Santa... I know it's july but those stuffed giraffes really caught my eye. =)
FAO Schwarz is a big place, with nearly 50000 square feet of toys, and fun and games.