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FAO Schwarz is an American toy store and brand founded by German immigrant Frederick August Otto Schwarz. It is known for its high-end toys, life-sized stuffed animals, and unique interactive experiences. Employees dressed like toy soldiers greet you at the door. :-)

FAO Schwarz is also the oldest toy store in the United States. It first opened its doors in 1862 in Baltimore, before moving to Fifth Avenue in New York City in 1931. In 2015 the NYC flagship stored closed, saddening generations of children, and also some adults. It reopened again in a new location in November 2018, but the experience is not the same. The store is now located in Rockefeller Center, right in front of the famous ice-skating rink.

The space is much tighter, and there are fewer toys, but one important item remains the same: the giant, dance-on piano. Made famous by the 1988 Tom Hanks movie “Big”, the large piano keyboard has always been popular, and there are always people waiting to jump on and make some music.

I visited the new location in December and was almost trapped inside the store indefinitely due to the insane number of tourists inside, and the large Christmas tree being right outside the front door. (I should have known better!!) When I returned in February it was much quieter, and I was able to photograph a few people trying out the piano. As you can see, there is also a keyboard on the ceiling, but you can’t play that one.

Outside you can see some of the flags surrounding the ice skating rink. The stairs in the background lead directly to the ice. The window was a bit dirty, but I still liked the view. :-)

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Additional Photos by Brenda Elaine (worldcitizen) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1800 W: 289 N: 3589] (13260)
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