Activities & Resources
FAO Schwarz552in New York, NY 10153
about FAO Schwarz:
The store design is very customer friendly - wide aisles, uncluttered displays, and lots of comfortable resting spots and places for kids to spend some hands-on time with the inventory.
The main floor is devoted to plush toys (including FAO's very own Patrick and Penelope - the Pups) and is an instant kid-pleaser, with a "tree house" (really just a staircase to a vantage point to see the store from above) and an impressive array of extra large stuffed jungle animals. FAO Baby (gifts and sundries for newborns), novelty gifts, and a personalization area with artists at the ready to hand paint the child's name on special items are all on the main floor as well.
The FAO Schweetz ice cream parlor offers a sweet respite from the shopping grind, though the lines can sometimes be daunting, especially on weekends (reservations are strongly recommended!). Milkshakes, floats, pastries, and more are on the menu. Or kids can put together a bag of candy to munch on while wandering through the store.
The second floor, accessible via escalator or elevator, wields "guy stuff" (Hot Wheels, Legos, and trains), "girl stuff" (the very cool baby nursery and collectible dolls), games, antique toys, puzzles, arts and crafts, and that gender non-specific melting pot, the walk-on piano.
By the way, professional Broadway dancers perform on that piano every half-hour to the songs from Big. Let the dancers know if a birthday's underway, and they'll play Happy Birthday and sing to the birthday child! The piano is available to purchase - for $250,000 (it comes complete with a choreographer who gives lessons). The big Dance Mat, which is exclusive to FAO and serves as a fine alternative (though without personal choreographer), sells for $60.
A virtual ride (available for sale at $300,000) now perches in the northeast corner. For $5/person, families can climb aboard for a four-minute, jiggly ride - many kids emerge begging to "to it again," but those who get inside and change their minds have only to press a button for instant release and refund.
Also on the second floor, Barefoot Books, an independent publisher founded by two moms, offers a wide array of books for all ages including singalong stories, multicultural travel adventures, classic fairytales, and pirate story collections.
The lower, "concourse," level is the place for action figures and collectibles, karaoke machines, and foosball and air hockey tables. Need a CD-playing jukebox or a coca cola machine? Head downstairs. Vespa scooters, sports equipment, and more beckon.
Bathrooms (mainly marked "women" or "family," several bewildered men were heard to wonder where the "men's" room might be) are available on the second floor and concourse levels only. The family bathrooms are single usage (meaning only one family can enter at a time); the women's room is a bit cramped, but an attendant is present to try to keep it clean.
Anything bought in the store can be gift wrapped (for a $6 fee) in signature FAO Schwarz paper, with ribbon and card. Wrapping stations are on the main floor and on the second floor.
Toy demonstrations happen all day long; Storytimes are Monday-Friday at 1pm and 3pm; special tours are available for a small fee.
Folks manning the information booth speak multiple languages, and the concierge desk denizens can help well-heeled families plan birthday parties, store sleepovers, and provide personal shopping assistance.
Rather expensive birthday party possibilities include a store sleepover! Check the website for details or email email@example.com for further information.