Thursday, May 12, 2016

May the Schwartz Be with You

This piece was originally written on July 15, 2015.

Tonight, the FAO Schwartz flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York closes its doors.

There are few things in this world that give warm, fuzzy feelings like a visit to this New York landmark. Now its presence will just have to remain in our memories--our fond, fond memories.

When I was young, my grandmother would often take me there as a special treat. She and I would have a city day, take the train in, people watch, and inevitably stop at our favorite toy store to get the latest He-Man toy to keep my Masters of the Universe collection complete. She spoiled us--individually, so we felt incredibly special--in any way that she could.

A few years ago, I worked with Banana Republic on the visuals team at their flagship 5th Avenue store. We'd create window displays and in-store displays. Because we primarily worked at night when the store was closed, I'd often walk up 5th Avenue during our 3AM "lunch" breaks, look in windows, and take inspiration from other shops. Rarely could a display rock it at the same caliber as FAO Schwartz!

I believe there was an unspoken contract that your mind signed when you walked under that big ol' red and gold awning:
- Leave your worries on the street.
- Eat as much candy and ice cream as you want, guilt free.
- Be a kid again, no matter how old you've become.

As a business person, I completely understand this incredibly difficult decision that had to be made to close those grand doors. However, as that little kid that still gets giddy when he sees a giant pile of stuffed elephants, I have a hard time imagining the greatest city in the world without its cherry.

Rest in peace, big piano.

#FAOSchwartz #NewYork #FifthAvenue #BigPiano #AskUncleMarty