FAO Schwarz shuts down its venerable toy store store on Fifth Avenue, upseting generations of customers. Many waited on line for one final visit. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed this report.
We met with some of the last people to shop at the FAO Schwarz Store on Fifth Avenue.
"Sad moment this iconic store is closing," one man said.
"That stinks a lot because this is an awesome store," said one young fan.
"It was the very first place I came when I came to New York 30 years ago for the first time and you never forget that," another woman said.
Known for high-end toys and oversized stuffed animals, FAO schwarz made memories for generations of New Yorkers and tourists alike.
"I have two daughters. They've been here. They grew up here," one man said.
The store bounced around the city for a half century before moving to this block of Fifth Avenue in 1931. In 1986, it moved across the street to the current location.
FAO Schwarz was immortalized by Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia playing the giant piano in the movie "Big."
There isn’t much laughter at the store today. Toys 'R' Us, which bought FAO Schwarz six years ago, says it's breaking its lease here to save money.
"Look where we are—FAO Schwarz, the apple store, the plaza, central park this is a tourist attraction this is a big mistake
The retail toy industry has changed, but analyst Richard Gottlieb says the shutdown is more about real estate.
"These are very specific to New York City and to just the cost of renting in the city which has really gone up and so it's... it makes certain things less tenable then it use to be," says Gottlieb.
High rents also forced the owners of Mary Arnold Toys on the Upper East Side to move, but this store never closed, allowing this small family-owned shop to now claim the title of the city's longest continually operating toy store.
"We're gonna try to stay another 84 years," says Ezra Ishayik.
FAO Schwarz promises that it will reopen in Times Square, presumably before the Christmas shopping season. Customers used to coming to Fifth Avenue say it just won't be the same, though.