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FAO Schwarz returns to NYC after three years

By Clyde Hughes
FAO Schwarz returns to NYC after three years
Customers gather outside at FAO Schwarz on its last day of business on Fifth Avenue in New York City in 2015. The store reopened in New York City Friday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Iconic toy seller FAO Schwarz returned to New York City Friday, three years after its Fifth Avenue flagship store was closed.

The store, with its walk-on piano keyboard, stuffed animals and other toys opened its doors at 30 Rockefeller Plaza Friday for the 2018 holiday season.

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The company announced in October it would reopen in 20,000 square feet of the bustling Manhattan location.

"FAO Schwarz was built on in-store experiences, which has made it a global destination over the years," David Conn, CEO of parent company ThreeSixty Group, said at the time.

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"We are able to bring back that 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," he added.

The store famously appeared in the hit 1988 Tom Hanks film, Big -- in which his and actor Robert Loggia's character play a tune on the giant step piano.

FAO Schwarz aims to create "Instagrammable" moments in the store that would bring back memories of what it was at the old Fifth Avenue location, where it says half the fun is just shopping there, CNBC reported Friday.

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"We think this transcends even just toys," Conn said. "We joke around ... we were experiential before it was cool to be experiential."

The store brings back its giant clock tower and a 27-foot rocket, complete with teddy bear astronauts. FAO Schwarz, which was once owned by Toys R Us, said it wants to strike a balance between old and new.

"It's about the theater, it's not just a toy store,'' David Niggli, FAO Schwarz's chief merchandising officer, told USA Today. "Timing seems right for us to be back because everybody's doing that.''

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