Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

The NYC Tour Diary Part Three: FAO Schwarz

Today we’re going to take a long look at the new FAO Schwarz flagship store in Rockefeller Center in New York. This store opened late last year, and tries to recreate the excitement of the original FAO Schwarz in New York, with loads of toys and displays scattered around its two full floors plus a mezzanine.

This was my first visit ever to FAO Schwarz, and it was a bit unusual. I went in not expecting to find anything that I collect at the moment. So I wasn’t disappointed when that proved to be the case.

I did find a vital, crowded toy store with a wide variety of merchandise, including a candy section provided by It’Sugar and people all over the store showing off flying toys and magic tricks.

Mrs. PopCulteer found some new Pusheen stuff, so we didn’t leave empty-handed.

With this photo essay I’m going to attempt to cram in as many photos as possible, and that means that I won’t be adding captions, because that makes the blog layout more than a little wonky. Instead I’ll add descriptive blocks of text between some of the photos, but many of them are self-explanatory and will just get a quick note. The text will describe the photo above it.

Much of FAO Schwarz is filled with exclusive plush items. There are also FAO-branded toys (many of which can be found at Kohl’s and other department stores now), and large sections devoted to Barbie and Transformers and Hatchimals. We were there the day that the Uglydolls movie opened, and there was a lot of that all over the store.

The layout of the place is open and filled with bright, shiny displays. Robots and rocket ships abound, and you’ll see giant plush all over the store. Let’s dive in…

The store is located right on one corner of Rockefeller Plaza, just half a block away from the entrance to NBC and the Rockefeller Center tours.


Above you see the 49th Street entrance. The building is laid out like an old-school department store, in terms of entrances and multiple floors.


There are demonstrations of toys and magic tricks going on all over the store, all the time.


We got there the day the Uglydolls movie opened, and they had plenty of tie-in merchandise.


If I recall correctly, the crystal-covered kid-size Mercedes was over $25,000, bears not included.


A cool rocketship cubby. Just a place for kids to duck in and play for a few minutes.  This one overlooked a set of stairs.


Racks of FAO-branded toys.


They had plenty of room for the popular toys, too.


Several cool riding toys were on display all over the store.


We didn’t check the price on this beauty.


A small Barbie display greets you as you enter from 49th Street. It does not prepare you for the huge Barbie section on the second floor.


An eight-foot-tall Optimus Prime welcomes you to the Transformers section.


Kids can stop in here and build their own remote-control car, choosing the body type and color, wheels and other features.


Another rocketship, this one filled with mirrors, is located in one of the huge plush sections of the store. That’s your PopCulteer cameo in the above photo, wearing a Radio Cult Space Cats T Shirt.


FAO Schwarz has always counted on plush for a great deal of their business. This is just one view of a giant section of the store devoted to stuffed animals.


Like with the gorilla, some of the plush animals are life-sized.Makes it hard to collect more than a couple.


This bear is about five feet tall, and greets customers as they enter from 49th Street.


This guy was so tall they had to have him do a split.


You could find almost any animal imaginable in plush form here.


A large portion of the first floor of the store is devoted to candy, which is supplied by the very cool candy store chain, It’Sugar, which we’ve visited in Chicago and Pigeon Forge.


Much of the candy is displayed in cool shelving units, like this firetruck…


And several different cool robots…


I like robots, so there are two of them here. They’ve got way more.



The less said about this, the better. You can find all kinds of fun at FAO Schwarz.


We’ll take one last look in the window at more of the candy robots, and that’s this entry in The NYC Tour Diary. Look for more in the coming days, and look for a late edition of PopCult’s Sunday Evening Video this afternoon.

1 Comment

  1. Thomas Wheeler

    Looks like a really fun place — and I had visited the original New York FAO when I was a kid. But, like you, I don’t see a whole lot that I’d be all that inclined to bring home, with the possible exception of something from the Transformers section (and I love the big Optimus). But I’m glad to see FAO is back and making such an impressive effort to create such a fun place to visit!

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