Jan-Nov: Mon-Wed, 10am-7pm; Thu-Sat, 10am-8pm; Sun, 11am-6pm; Dec: Sun-Wed, 10am-7pm; Thu-Sat, 10am-9pm
N, Q, R at Fifth Ave.-59th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Warning: FAO Schwarz is not for the timid—or for the time-starved. Only shoppers with nerves of steel or bitter childhood memories will be able to zip and out in five minutes; for all the rest, it’s a place to linger, imagine, dream, and finger all the cool stuff on offer. Even professionally jaded, grown-up New Yorkers stare in amazement at the store’s gigantic, unparalleled collection: Deluxe toys and games galore, not to mention the enormous Barbie section, LEGO mother lode, and copious dress-up and pretend-play areas. The store tends to balance trends with classics (and quality). High-end buyers won’t be disappointed: Giant, nearly life-size Steiff plush animals retail in the hundreds-to-thousands, and there’s always something like the $50,000 child-size Ferrari with leather interior that travels 15 miles per hour. Kids will enjoy the do-it-yourself departments: At the Madame Alexander Doll Factory, for example, kids can design their own 10-inch doll.Extra
New York tykes with a certain savoir-vivre can have their birthday party at FAO, or rent the entire store for an afterhours private party in kid paradise, with 15 friends and adult chaperones.
In December, as Christmas approaches, the store stays open later.