FAO Schwarz Returns to New York With a New Flagship Toy Store

by Katie Lee

New York City — On November 16, 2018, FAO Schwarz opened its doors to a new flagship location in New York City. The beloved toy store spans 2.5 levels with over 20,000 square feet of signature toys, interactive experiences and shops.

“FAO Schwarz was built on in-store experiences, which has made it a global destination over the years,” says David Conn, CEO of ThreeSixty Brands, owners of the FAO Schwarz brand. “We are bringing back the wonderment of toys and a deep nostalgia for the larger than life experience that FAO Schwarz has offered to parents and children alike for over 150 years.”

With a nod to the deep history of the brand in New York and a wink to its future, the new store designed by Chute Gerdeman capitalizes on the Art Deco architecture of its new home and amplifies memories of the best FAO experiences from years past. FAO Schwarz toy soldiers are stationed outside of the 49th street entrance, outfitted in brand new uniforms designed by supermodel Gigi Hadid. The new uniform will be worn at all FAO stores internationally.

More than a toy store, FAO Schwarz is a place of imagination and discovery. Guests who enter at Rockefeller Plaza are transported to another world with FAO Schwarz’s newest icon, the rocket ship. Surrounded by classic plush creations, the 27-foot-tall rocket ship — sponsored by Build-A-Bear Workshop — showcases teddy-bear astronauts and is the first cue that there is more to discover upstairs. From the 49th Street entrance, guests are greeted by FAO’s iconic three-story, three-dimensional clock tower, inviting exploration up, through, around and within. Beyond the clocktower and rocket ship, a journey of discovery begins, where over 200 FAO Schwarz-branded toys as well as products from over 15 well-loved toy brands come to life with unique experiences.

The famous FAO Schwarz dance-on piano sponsored by Hape returns and is featured on the second floor. The new and improved piano is reflected on the ceiling above and guests can overlook the ice-skating rink below at Rockefeller Plaza.

Shoppers are invited to work alongside trained mechanics at FAO Raceway, where they can build remote-control cars piece-by-piece by picking out their individualized body style, color, wheels and designs. Also new to the store is the FAO Schwarz Baby Doll Adoption Experience where nurses and doctors walk children through the adoption process and teach them how to properly love and care for their baby dolls. Once a prospective parent adoption form is completed, children are able to select the doll of their choosing. The baby dolls are then taken for a “checkup” before they are sent home with their very own FAO “certificate of adoption.”

FAO Schweetz, operated by specialty candy retailer IT’SUGAR, also returns encompassing over 2,150 square feet in candy installations and innovative merchandising, honoring FAO Schwarz’s legacy as “retail-tainment” pioneers. Life-sized versions of classic toys such as a space ship, fire truck and toy train serve as bulk candy containers and design elements such as a toy soldier and a subway subway car will be at the checkout counter. A new FAO Schweetz-branded product line includes giant gummy bears and unicorns, make-your-own gummy worm kits, and mega chocolate bars, among other sweets.

Additional one-of-a-kind experiences and other retail partners include:

  • Alex Spa: Get primped and pampered, and express your personal style at the Alex Spa with hair color and nail polish treatments.
  • Bunnies By The Bay: Shop from charming, super soft and hand-crafted plush toys, blankets, clothing and accessories. New Bunnies By the Bay dolls are also available at FAO Schwarz.
  • Build-A-Bear Workshop: Guests can take part in the signature Build-A-Bear Workshop Make-Your-Own experience, featuring a selection of exclusive FAO Schwarz furry friends and accessories, on the second floor.
  • Discovery #mindblown: Talk to our STEM professor in his custom #mindblown lab about everything science. With a giant video wall and in-person demonstrations, every child interested in STEM will flock to this 520-square-foot kiosk.
  • Hape Music: In addition to sponsoring the famous dance-on piano, Hape will offer musical instruments of all types for infants, preschoolers and beyond.
  • Hasbro: Visitors will discover a More Than Meets the Eye experience with Transformers, complete with a fully-automated, speaking 9ft. 2in. Optimus Prime, everyone’s favorite Autobots and Decepticons, collectibles and everything in-between from scooters to apparel.
  • Marvin’s Magic: Professional magic made easy sets and tricks continue to inspire magicians of all ages.
  • Barbie/Mattel: FAO Schwarz was one of the first places Barbie premiered almost 60 years ago and she is back.
  • Melissa & Doug: Kids can shop the full-service Melissa & Doug FAO Mart grocery store, where they can fill their carts with fun play food and grocery ingredients before heading into the Melissa & Doug FAO Home to purchase cook time sets, kitchen equipment, housewares and more.
  • Ravensburger/BRIO: For more than a century, these two companies have been making classic wooden trains, board games and keepsake puzzles featuring iconic imagery like the Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Building.
  • Spin Master: A global leader in children’s toys and entertainment brings the magic of beloved brands like Hatchimals, PAW Patrol, Erector and Gund in a fun, interactive experience.
  • Steiff: The legendary plush toy company is bringing an exciting new line to FAO Schwarz with its contemporary “Soft Cuddly Friends” collection of attractively priced toys for everyday play.
  • Swarovski: FAO offers an exclusive line of gifts and collectables all adorned with sparkling crystals from Swarovski, ranging from keepsake ornaments to nutcrackers to key chains. Also on display are two 12-foot-tall toy soldiers, created with over 3 million hand-applied Swarovski crystals, flanking a floor-to-ceiling Swarovski crystallized curtain at the store’s checkout.

FAO Schwarz is one of the oldest, most historic and iconic toy brands in the world. Founded in 1862, Frederick August Otto Schwarz opened FAO Schwarz, a marvelous bountiful emporium full of extraordinary, one-of-a-kind toys from all over the world. For more information, visit www.faoschwarz.com.

ThreeSixty Brands owns and operates the FAO Schwarz and Sharper Image brands and is a New York-based subsidiary of ThreeSixty Group. ThreeSixty Group was founded in Southern California in 2001 and today has offices across the globe. The company designs, sources and distributes consumer products across diverse categories under a portfolio of owned and licensed brands.


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