Mondays are for dreaming: FAO Schwarz

This time last year we were returning from a family Labor Day holiday in New York City where we played in Central Park, went to the top of the Empire State Building, and saw the dinosaur skeletons at the American Museum of Natural History. We had a fantastic time and today I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for that trip, the boys’ first memorable experience in Manhattan.

Perhaps the most dreamy part of our adventure was our visit to FAO Schwarz, that purveyor of everything any child could want from marbles…

Marbles at FAO Schwarz

to Muppets…

Whatnot Workshop at FAO Schwarz

and everything in between.

I was probably seven or eight years old – the same age as Tommy – the first time I entered this iconic space. What’s amazing to me is that it was just as thrilling to go back at 39. There is just so much of everything, more than you’ve ever seen – more Legos, more dolls, more trains, more stuffed animals –  that children actually forget to be acquisitive while they are in there. I don’t think I heard one “can I get that?” It’s like visiting the Museum of Childhood Dreams Come True where everyone wanders around in kind of a happy daze. Everywhere you look there is something you never even knew existed, whether it’s giant stuffed dinosaurs,

Stuffed dinosaurs at FAO Schwarz

or snakes,

Tommy and stuffed snake at FAO Schwarz

or a piano you can dance on.

Teddy playing on the Big Piano at FAO Schwarz

I know that there are other toy stores in Manhattan and that many people think an indoor Ferris wheel can’t be beat. I’ve got no beef with that, but nevertheless I remain loyal to this old-school store in this most magical of locations, close to the Central Park Zoo and facing The Plaza. So today I’m dreaming of a return to New York City with children, and especially to FAO Schwarz. Maybe next time we’ll even make a purchase.

A Happy Labor Day and unofficial end of summer to one and all. Please feel free to share your Monday Dreams below. Questions? See About Monday Dreaming.

Reader Responses

7 fellow travelers had this to say

  1. I love that store and you are right the new stores are great but old ones are best just because of the memories.

  2. I lived in NYC for a long time, so am partial to FAO Swartz and all the icons that you mentioned. We had a ball went we went there not too long ago & it was on Halloween, so they had lots of special crafty projects for the kids to do.

    I’m afraid my kidlet is a bit spoiled at seeing some of the best toy stores in the world in Paris, London, Vienna, Stockholm, Barcelona, Marbella etc, but, FAO will always have a special place in our heart!

    ( Also American girls & we definitely did more of the girl section at FAO as I do not remember any marbles.) LOL!

  3. I brought my middle son with me to NYC last month for BlogHer, and he was pretty blown away by FAO, even at age 13! Honestly, I could’ve spent every day in Central Park, and I think he felt the same. It’s such a magical show of NYC character, color and happy energy…Wish I could’ve met you in person at the conference, Mara!

Join the Conversation