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July 15, 2015

Flagship FAO Schwarz toy store in New York closes, plans to relocate

FAO Schwarz will officially close the doors of its flagship Fifth Avenue toy store in New York City on Wednesday night to the dismay of shoppers charmed by the famous destination for childhood fun.

The store, which has been the face of FAO Schwarz since 1986, is moving from its location on fashionable Fifth Avenue due to rising rent. It will continue to look for an alternative location in midtown Manhattan, according to a statement released by the store in May.

The Fifth Avenue store famously included an oversized piano keyboard that actors Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia danced on in the 1988 movie "Big." It also included a 4,000-square-foot candy shop and real-life toy soldiers who greeted shoppers as they entered.

Since 2009 FAO Schwarz has been owned by Toys R Us, which has several stores in New York City, including a flagship store in Times Square.

German immigrants Frederick Otto Schwarz and his two brothers opened Toy Bazaar in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1862. Schwarz brought the business to New York City in 1870, opening a toy store that would later be renamed FAO Schwarz and would move to various locations in New York City. His brothers continued to operate stores in Baltimore and Boston.