FAO Schwarz Is Closing And I’m Sad

Here’s the weird thing. As a kid I used to hang out at FAO Schwarz many Saturdays. They welcomed me. I was good for business!

fao schwarz

I am saddened to hear FAO Schwarz is closing their iconic Midtown Manhattan store. To quote another angry New Yorker, “The rent’s too damned high.”

FAO Schwarz (which through most of my life I made Jewish by pronouncing it Schwartz) was a must see for any New York City visitor. It’s where Tom Hanks did his piano dance in “Big.”

Here’s the weird thing. As a kid I used to hang out at FAO Schwarz many Saturdays. They welcomed me. I was good for business!

My trips to Schwarz started when I was around ten. My cousin and I used to go into the city by ourselves via bus and subway. We’d take the E train to 5th Avenue and 53rd Street, pop out of the Tishman Building (666 5th Avenue) and head north.

FAO Schwarz wasn’t for the common folk–like me. Its exotic, often imported, toys were high end and seldom discounted. The shoppers were grandparents and sometimes out-of-town parents, nearly always without their kids.

This is where I came in. Confused shoppers wanted my opinion. I was a representative kid.

At FAO Schwarz many of the toys were on display unpacked, out in-the-open and ready for play. And play I did. I spent hours there.

My cousin and I were polite, but it was obvious we were unsupervised. Yet no one at FAO ever questioned us or asked us to leave. We were providing a valuable service. Like I said, we were good for business.

FAO Schwarz was my aspirational toy store. I’m still mostly a kid. It will be missed.

3 thoughts on “FAO Schwarz Is Closing And I’m Sad”

  1. “FAO Schwarz wasn’t for the common folk” This.. This is what their current owners don’t get.. When you stop appealing to your core customer they stop shopping..

    FAO will return to a retail space. I’m concerned about the history. If theyre just going to throw out the clock tower, they can give it to me.

  2. Nice piece Geoff. We took our kids there when we went to the city for Chanukah/Xmas when they were in grade school. It was always an experience enjoyed. But your story was really great and enjoyable! Thanks!

  3. I had the opportunity to visit FAO Schwarz for the first (and apparently only) time in October 2013. I was very excited to purchase a gift for my granddaughter from this iconic store and purchased gifts for a friend’s three kids as well. How disappointing it was to see “Kids R Us” on my bank statement.

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