FAO Schwarz. A place where dreams come true. Second only to Disneyland. Immortalized by Tom Hanks in the movie “Big”. A New York cliché.
This childhood mecca is directly across the street from the building where I am temping all week. Ah temping, almost as cliché as waitressing. Every day I have a mandated hour-long lunch break that I don’t quite know what to do with; it never takes me an hour to eat lunch. The gorgeous weather of last week has cooled to typical early spring weather: chilly, windy, April showers. Not wanting to stay in the office but seeking refuge from the outdoors, I found myself wandering around the legendary toy store.
I thought perhaps “Visit FAO Schwarz” would be number four on my list of “Ways to Feel Like a Kid Again“. Turns out, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. It might, in fact, be number one on the list of “Ways to Feel Ancient at Age 25”. I wandered the aisles all but muttering to myself these choice clichés: Back in my day… Little hooligans! Kids these days! You want to cry? I’ll give you something to cry about!
I have yet to be bit by the baby bug (as I’ve mentioned before.) However, I am no longer adamantly anti-kids. Two of my favorite blogs, Fraught and NYC Taught Me (recent discovery, her photography is fantastic) actually make motherhood look pretty fun. I sometimes wonder how I’ll know I really want kids. This week I figured it out. When I go to FAO Schwarz and am not over come with the urge to smack every child in the store, that’s when I’ll be ready. Presently, that day seems miles away. I would never actually hit a child, but simply overhearing all the whining around me drove my patience. FAO Schwarz: my new birth-control.
But in the end, it’s still a toy store. It’s fun, even at my advanced age. I should’ve just worn earplugs (help me, I’m turning into my mother). FAO Schwarz is celebrating its 150 anniversary this year. It hasn’t been around that long for nothing. In celebration of the milestone, they have exhibits through-out the store displaying old toys from their history. You can buy toys and learn some history at the same time!
Did you learn something? Were you quiet and well-behaved? No crying/whining? I’m so proud of you! Since you were so good, I’ll let you pick a toy!
Would you like a train set? Classic and timeless. Oh, you think it’s old-fashioned and boring? You wish it was Thomas the Tank Engine? Remember, no whining or we’re leaving. Let’s look for something else.
Oh look! How about a puppy that’s almost the size of my apartment? You’re afraid it would crush you and you’d suffocate to death under it? Me too. Moving on…
Who doesn’t want a $1,500 jewel encrusted Etch-A-Sketch? Perfect! What? It’s the most frivolous thing you’ve ever seen? You’d rather have an iPad? My, my, aren’t we practical.
Ooo, it’s a life-sized goat! Did you know I directed a play in college called “The Goat or Who is Sylvia”? Did you know one of the props I needed was life-like goat carcass and I actually considered buying the very goat you see here? Too bad $349 was approximately the budget for the entire show. What’s that? Its utters kind of freak you out? Tough customer!
Wow! Look over here! You can design your own muppet! Now that’s cool. You get to pick its color, eyes, hairstyle, outfit, everything! How neat, your very own, original muppet! What do you do with it? Well…uhh…you could do some sort of street performance with it. No? But you’re interested in other job options? Let’s see…
Here we go! You could be the doorman, constantly posing for photos! I thought the men who wear those hats aren’t suppose to smile…
Or you could be Spiderman! How cool is he? No one can tell if he’s smiling behind the mask! Oh, you’re not a man? Me neither…hmm…we seem to like our gender roles here, but maybe we can find something…
Yes! You can work in the baby doll nursery! Wow, I bet this woman hates kids at the end of the day. Also, I bet one jewel-encrusted Etch-A-Sketch she’s a strugging actor, like me!
Uh oh. My lunch break is almost over! Awww, I have to go back to my temp job. Look, you can see the office out the window, as well as the reflection of the LEGO section!
Before we go, you have to take a spin on the Big Piano. It completes the FAO experience. Did you have fun?
When was the last time you were in a toy store? Ever been to FAO Schwarz? If you’re a parent, how do you handle toy stores?