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Shopping FAO Schwarz New York City for Unique Toys (Part II)

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Our FAO Schwarz New York City Souvenir and Gift Guide

If you haven’t read our first post about what unique toys to shop for at FAO Schwarz’s New York City store (covering the Big Piano and life-size stuffed animals) check that out first. We continue our FAO Shopping expedition in this next installment, seeking only-at-FAO Schwarz finds– and explore the make-your-own muppet workshop, big candy, dolls, FAO Schwarz clothes for dress up, vintage era toys and more.

fao schwarz store front nyc doorman toy soldier new york

Warning: the friendly FAO Schwarz doorman, dressed as a toy soldier, takes his role seriously. It was impossible to get a stealth shot because he wouldn’t stop hamming for the camera.

1. Fao Schwarz’s Make-your-own-Muppet Workshop

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It was a little off-putting to see muppets hanging from the walls.

My favorite part of the entire FAO Schwarz store is their make-your-own muppet workshop. Fortunately, you don’t need to know how to thread a needle to participate– you simply select all the muppet components and the FAO Schwarz muppet technician puts them together for you. Start with a muppet body in the color of your choosing. Next, add your choice of googly eyes, tear drop or pom-pom nose, hair (even a mustache!), mop of hair and outfit, until you’ve built your own custom muppet.

Custom make your own muppets run at $129.99 per muppet, though when I stopped by they were discounted to $99. If you don’t have the time (or funds) to make your own muppet, you can still leave with a muppet branded item– my favorite were the nostalgic metal lunch boxes, emblazoned with favorite muppet characters.

2. FAO Schwarz Classic Toys

Tired of all the junky plastic toys you see everywhere? Long for the “good old days” when children’s toys came in one piece instead of a thousand? Even if you weren’t born in the era when toys were made for longevity, you’ll still appreciate the FAO Schwarz collection of “vintage look” toys. These toys, all branded with the FAO Schwarz logo, would make a great souvenir or gift too. I found classic tin toys like spinning tops and trains, as well as kaleidoscopes. But my favorite FAO Schwarz classic toy was the jack-in-the-box– there is nothing automated here, just crank the handle and wait to be “surprised” by FAO Schwarz’s iconic soldier bear.

3.  FAO Schwarz Art Supplies

If your child is a future crafter, then you’ll want to visit the well-stocked FAO Schwarz art supply section. The FAO branded toys and art supplies here covered drawing, painting, jewelry making– pretty much any craft you can think of. For an only-in-New York touch, I liked these FAO and New York City paint-by-numbers sets.

4.  FAO Schwarz’s Big Candy

There’s candy then there’s Big Candy, which we all know is way more fun. I didn’t have a child with me for scale, but trust me that these sweet tarts and gummy bears were gigantic. Other favorites: variety packs of old-timey candy from the 50’s and 60’s and 70’s. I was planning on only photographing this department, but somehow ended up leaving with thirty dollars worth of chocolate covered peeps, lollipops and gummy worms.

5.  FAO Schwarz Clothes and Dress Up Department

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I also looked longingly at these adorable tulle-skirted dress up outfits– where was this stuff when I was a kid?

I couldn’t believe the enormous FAO Schwarz dress up clothes department, filled with racks upon racks of frilly dresses, princess-y costumes, and adorable girly outfits. While no kid wants a box of clothes for Christmas, dress up clothes are an entirely different matter. You find not only dress up clothes, but all the accessories you need to complete the perfect outfit.

Note: In addition to the fun FAO Schwarz clothes in the dress up department, there is an entire FAO Schwarz clothing department on the basement level– featuring “regular” baby and kids clothes.

6.  Hello Kitty New York City dolls

Hello Kitty toys may be everywhere, but the huge variety of Hello Kitty products at FAO Schwarz is worth noting, and the superfans who were browsing here seemed thrilled with selection. I also spotted some unique Hello Kitty items, like these pillow-sized Hello Kitty NY dolls.

7. FAO Schwarz Dolls

The range of dolls available at FAO Schwarz was staggering. FAO Schwarz dolls include exclusives like Madeleine by Corolle dolls, and other just plain harder-to-find dolls like Cabbage Patch dolls, mermaid dolls, and classic dolls like Raggedy Ann and Andy.

8. FAO Schwarz Doll Houses

I sighed at the FAO Schwarz dollhouse section, which featured everything from the signature FAO Schwarz Victorian dollhouse to a Southern mansion with a wrap around porch or for the urban doll, a city brownstone. But of course no dollhouse is complete without teeny tiny furnishings. As a child who made her own doll dishes out of aluminum foil, I lusted over the bone china dish sets here— along with custom (working) lights, and sofas in every style to fit any dollhouse decor.

9. For the Child with Wanderlust–a Wall-Size Velcro Map
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If you want to ensure your child knows their geography, I can’t think of anything better to inspire learning than this colorful wall-size map, complete with velcro labels.

10. An FAO Schwarz Rocking horse and Hobby Horse

For the horse-obsessed kid, I noted a couple of great options. The FAO Schwarz big rocking horse is a classic– hand painted and made to last. I also loved these horse heads on a stick (also known as a hobby-horse, which I learned courtesy of Google).

A Little FAO Schwarz History– the Ledger Book

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Don’t miss the original FAO Schwarz store ledger from 1909 detailing international purchases.

Have you visited FAO Schwarz? What are your favorite toys?

Want to read more NYC holiday posts? Check out our review of the Union Square Holiday Market!

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2 Responses to Shopping FAO Schwarz New York City for Unique Toys (Part II)

  1. SJ @ Chasing the Donkey 11/22/2014 at 5:21 pm #

    Oh my gosh, I need to head back to NYC just to get me one of those puppets – they are seriously cool!

  2. Chanel | Cultural Xplorer 11/27/2014 at 11:55 pm #

    I haven’t been in that store since I was a kid, but after reading this post, I kind of want to go back in there now just to play around, eat some big candy, and snap pictures of the soldier 😀

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