Mon-Thu, 10am-7pm; Fri, 10am-9pm; Sat, 9am-9pm; Sun, 9am-7pm
B, D, F, M at 47th-50th Sts.-Rockefeller Center; E, M at Fifth Ave.-53rd St.
American Express, MasterCard
The American Girl doll, created in 1986 by former educator Pleasant T. Rowland, represented the perfect collision of luxury plaything and socially-conscious parenting: Each 18-inch doll portrays a 9 or 10-year-old girl at a critical moment in American history: Witness Colonial-era Felicity and Pioneer Kirsten, et al. By the time Mattel bought the brand in 1998, American Girl products encompassed books, extensive mini-wardrobes, a magazine and, eventually, that apex of bright-eyed consumerism, a kind of self-enclosed theme park where junior shoppers can spend the day primping and dreaming in five bright and inviting in-store boutiques. The Dress Like Your Doll shop offers coordinated outfits for girls and their little plastic friends while the Just Like You boutique allows customers to design and purchase mini-replicas of themselves—hair color and texture, eye color, and skin color, to mix and match on demand. Add a doll hair salon, a doll hospital, a bookstore, a café, and a theater presenting An American Girl Musical, and you'll end up wondering if there’s a world outside of Addy, Samantha, and their pint-size gal pals.