Translation from English

Monday, July 29, 2013

FAO Schwarz, Famous Toy Emporium

I was only vaguely aware of the Toy Emporium of FAO Schwarz when I was a kid, I saw it featured on TV once and never thought of it again until I learned it was a real NYC fixture some years later...but in decline.

Then they moved it to the GM building into bigger quarters, added a Disney-produced clock as a centerpiece inside as well as a children's chorus sound track as background music, and unleashed their upscale place on the world again, big time. ( At my suggestion, the then owner also brought out a mail order catalog for the first time) (he belonged to a business group I worked for).



The usual complaint about places like FAO Schwarz is just that--by going Disney etc.-- they are just too over the top and have only pretty damn expensive stuff. I once checked myself and found that this was pretty much the truth...

 Large overhead shot by Fred Charles

It is odd, in those days there were still little neighborhood toy stores around--you don't see them much any more these days if at all ( I suspect Toys 'R Us and the internet have something to do with this)...

I probably should have checked to see if there were any reviews available from this wild place,'--but will do so now--

Sure are reviews-- almost entirely more or less raves...

FAO Schwarz

4.0 star rating
299 reviews Rating Details
Category: Toy Stores  [Edit]
767 5th Ave
New York, NY 10153
Neighborhood: Midtown East
(212) 644-9400
Nearest Transit Station:
5 Av/59 St (N, Q, R)
57 St (F)
59 St (4, 5, 6, 6X)
Hours:
Mon-Sat 10 am - 7 pm
Sun 11 am - 6 pm
Price Range:
$$$
Accepts Credit Cards:
Yes
Parking:
Street
Wheelchair Accessible:
Yes

Review Highlights   What's this?

  • "Anyways, it's a great store lots of fun toys everywhere." In 138 reviews
  • "Got to play on the big piano outside, pizza, cake and toys." In 39 reviews
  • "I saw so many fun toys and cool stuffed animals." In 50 reviews
Rating Distribution | Trend
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295 reviews in English

  • Review from

    7/23/2013
    This is the quintessential toy emporium - your little child will be overwhelmed, and  your grown child will suddenly revert to early childhood, not knowing where to run first, and what to touch or play with!!

    This is a multi-story establishment with all imaginable toys in inventory, as well as baby clothing, and a large & strategically placed "Shweetz" area, with candies, gummies, chocolates and sweets galore! You will find the famous floor piano keyboard [from the "Big" movie], and the Lego area with amazing full-size creations, and so much more.  Simply put - my 18-year-old said he can spend at least half a day in this store, exploring and reliving his childhood.  Now that says a lot!!

    My suggestion - avoid at Christmas / holiday time at all costs: this store a magnet, with a line of anxious customers snaking around the corner,  packed inside shoulder-to-shoulder.
  • Review from

    7/8/2013 1 check-in here
    Thanks to Clifford R for the info about Toys R Us operating FAO, very interesting. It goes to show what Toys R Us can do, and what they are -not- doing in their Times Square location. Rest assured, the FAO brand still belongs to the Schwarz family.
    Alas, gone is the FAO of my childhood, no more "welcome to the world of toys" theme song when you walk in. I always loved that, it was an iconic part of so many visits to NYC. I did hear it playing somewhere on the first floor, but didn't have time to investigate.
    I have to say the store is slickly put together - people spent a lot of time maximizing selling space. We came the other day for story time in the bookstore, and man do you have to pass every last thing to get to that bookstore. I liked it, though, it's cozily tucked into a corner. Story time was nice, the reader was very enthusiastic. Naturally we couldn't leave without buying a couple of books, which was made easier by a 50% off sale(!)
    We were there on a Sunday (ouch), but on July 4th weekend, when the city is typically empty (and HOT). Still crowded. Some areas can get a bit overcrowded, not much room to move. Some (not all) of the toys are outrageously priced, and some (not all) of the sales staff can be aggressive. But overall, I'd come back. I'd -definitely- come here rather than the Times Square Toys R Us.
  • Review from

    7/5/2013 2 check-ins here
    Oh, to be a kid again! Wait? Why be a kid again? I can be in my 20s and still enjoy FAO Schwarz! And I did. And would do it again!

    But even still, my 7 year old self would be jealous and I can only imagine what it would be like to visit this place back when I was much younger and my interests were more deep into action figures and games. There is stuff in here now for me but my heart isn't where it used to be.

    Even still, imagine multiple levels of toys, candies and treats, games, an entire Angry Birds section, a lego section, and a place to make your own muppet! There's just so much!

    So looking at this place from the perspective of all of my past ages, and myself today, it gets a full 5 stars!
    Listed in: 100 for 2013
  • Review from

    • 0 friends
    • 44 reviews
    7/24/2013
    Even if you're not interested in shopping and spending money... i highly recommend you at least stop by and check out all the madness that is FAO/NYC.

    FAO Shweetz is simply heaven on earth. I could have spent hours in there.
    Prices arent too bad considering where you're at and you can find tons of little novelty gifts for friends and family if you're interested. Its a must see.
    And stop and snap your photo with the "toy soldier in front if you get the chance!
  • Review from

    6/17/2013 7 photos
    Big ass candy and the "Big" Piano!!!

    I was hoping to have a Jolie-Pitt family sighting but sadly no and i didn't even get to see Suri Cruise either.

    I did have fun looking at all the oversized candy (biggest rice crispy treats ever!)
    Plush Peeps, hello kitty stuff, and Toys galore.
    Restrooms available by the baby stuff downstairs

    There's even a little dessert section!
    There's also a adult toy store next door called the Apple Store  .
    Listed in: I LOVE NEW YORK
  • Review from

    6/17/2013 1 photo 1 check-in here
    You could never be too old for this place! ITS JUST THE BOMB!

    Came here to just browse and I always use to come here as a kid and its just still the same, one of the best toy stores in NYC. I love the awesome greeter in the front thats dressed like a nutcracker he's great! So welcoming too.

    Theres everything from huge stuffed animals to all types of toys and the best part is the candy little wonderland in the back! I love it!!! Huge size candies and others where you make your own little candy bags and you can never go wrong with lots of sugar!

    The huge piano upstairs is so much fun you can dance and just have a good time on it, like I said you can never be too old for this place its just awesome.

    I love to come here to visit and browse and enjoy the little things in there. I know there open late everyday and its right by the main shopping area and not to far from Central Park neither which is so cool.
    • Corner picture of the store.
  • Review from

    5/16/2013 1 check-in here
    Being an adult all the time is lame. FAO Schwarz is a great place to take a break from adulthood.

    Giant stuffed animals, epic Lego creations, the "Big" Piano (so you can pretend to be Tom Hanks), a huge candy section, friendly and engaging employees, and just about every toy you can imagine.

    I suppose if you have kids it's a good place to take them, but even if you don't, just go in and take a vacation from adulthood.

    However, upon further reflection, you might want to keep the kids out because everything they'd want costs bank! So you will either leave with a kid throwing a temper tantrum, or broke...
  • Review from

    4/30/2013 1 check-in here
    You can't visit the city and not come here if you have children. Though our little girl was home in SoCal, we still came here to browse around and look for things we could get her.

    They have everything you could imagine here, even a candy store! There are always kids and tourists here running around and taking pictures. With so much variety it's hard not to get excited about something. Though it's not as extravagant as it once was (I'm sure the current economic state had something to do with it) it's still any kids paradise of a playhouse.
  • Review from

    5/20/2013
    All five stars are for the glitter tattoo chick Becky on the second floor.

    I went with a friend and her seven year old daughter, and we all got the most kick ass glitter tattoos! Great selection of stencils, and so many pretty colors to choose from. Only $10 and it takes less than five minutes!

    Plus she has loads of stencils and glitter pots you can buy for later...great gifts!

    Becky is so super nice and very passionate about her product. She has a few girls who work for her and they're also super kind and fun.

    There are even tattoos for boys.

    Go!
  • Review from

    4/29/2013
    The place is a mad house. OK, I guess I should know that given its location and the fact that it's a toy store, right?

    The Mister and I stopped in here one evening in February, looking for a baby gift. We went down to the baby section - the basement. It was bizarrely overheated and ... bereft of actual ... toys. There were clothes and some overpriced strollers, but nothing for a child under a year to actually play with, with the possible exception of stuffed animals.

    The main floor is a lot of fun. There is an insane array of stuffed animals - every animal you can think of, in all sorts of sizes. I really wanted that life sized giraffe, you know, for my office. There's also a candy bar - because who doesn't want to jack their offspring on sugar before setting them loose in a toy store!

    Upstairs was a little weird. There were a lot of toy demonstrations and displays, but everything was very plastic and commercial. All of the toys seemed to tie into some sort of tv show or movie. There were very few Montissori style or imaginative play toys. Even the Legos were all in themed kits instead of encouraging kids to build their own creations. It was already Star Wars or Harry Potter or whatever.
  • Review from

    3/5/2013 1 check-in here
    I don't think I'd have the patience to visit FAO Schwarz with a kid... but with my boyfriend on a Friday evening? We had a blast!!

    FAO Schwarz is classy-- 2 stories filled with high quality stuffed animals, toys to suit all ages and interests, historical items in glass cases, and life sized lego figures.

    In addition to snack booths with chocolate covered marshmallows and popcorn, there's a candyland in the back on the 1st floor. It was soo hard to resist the temptation!

    I was afraid the BIG piano would be swarming with screaming kids, but pleasant surprise! they limit the number of people who can go on it at a time. While you wait in the line, they snap a super touristy photo of you.

    I figured everything would be overpriced (and a lot were), but I saw some good deals. For example, I purchased Beatles White Album jisaw puzzles for $14.99 (it sells for ~$30 online!). Being a puzzle aficionado, I was happy to see their Ravensburger collection.

    Overall, a really fun place to check out with or without kids.
  • Review from

    4/7/2013 1 check-in here
    If you come to visit New York City, it's almost required to come to this establishment.

    There's no place that will make you feel more like a kid than FAO Schwarz.  This world famous toy shop turned international tourist attraction is right smack dab in the middle of Midtown Manhattan right next to Central Park and the glass cube Apple Store, and when you first step in it can look a little overwhelming.  The store, however, is separated very neatly into different categories, so you can find your Angry Birds plush dolls in one section, Legos in another, board games in another, and tons and tons of candy in another.

    The star of this establishment, however, is the Big Piano, which you can take home for one easy payment of $250,000.  Be prepared for long lines and terrible renditions of Heart and Soul or Chopsticks.  (Random sidenote - the piano's tuned up a half step - kudos to you if you're reading this and you noticed that.)  You'll also be subjected to someone taking pictures of you dancing on the piano while you slip all over the keys in your socks.

    Demonstrations of toys and other gadgets are also all over the place in this store.  I actually found myself stopping in a crowd to watch a store employee demo a kid's introduction to magic set for about 15 minutes.

    This a great place to bring your kids, family members, date, yourself, anyone! Make sure this is a stop on your itinerary next time you visit New York City!
  • Review from

    • 17 friends
    • 130 reviews
    5/7/2013
    I went here with my man Clement, the tragic mustafino from Nawlins, and his nephew T'Angelo. T'Angelo wanted some G.I. Joe Revenge of the Sith toy, but he got sidetracked. Then the place have a candy store, so we get T'Angelo some candy and he jumping off the walls, then he start to jump on the piano thing, like Tom Hanks in Big. Then I jump on the piano and play Superfreak by Rick James. Then, I decide to play Ha Tikvah, the national anthem of Israel, and it being New York, there were a lot of People of the Book to sing along to my playing. Then we get T'Angelo a Transformer Optimus Prime Jimmy Hoffa Semi truck that turns into a teamster robot thingee. New York have every damn thang! Afterwards, we go to Guy Fieri's new restaurant, and it badass.