FAO Schwarz Flagship Closes In NYC, Forcing All Those Giant Stuffed Animals To Find A New Home

The doors will close, the giant piano keyboard will fall silent and all those giant stuffed animals will lose the attention of adoring crowds when FAO Schwarz’s New York City flagship closes today. Will there be a clearance sale on ginormous tigers, or an auction of oversized musical instruments? It’s unclear, though Toys “R” Us, the owners of FAO Schwarz, says it’s looking for a new home to sell toys and bring in tourists again.

Marking the first time in 153 years of existence that the store won’t have a physical retail presence, FAO Schwarz’s last remaining store in NYC closes Wednesday, with the company citing the high cost operating a retail location on Fifth Avenue.

Thus far, the company hasn’t announced any auctions or other sales of its inventory — including those huge animals shoppers love so much — and instead says it’s actively searching for a new location in the city.

Consumerist asked Toys “R” Us whether the company had plans to clear out any of its stock, but the company did not comment on that specific question, instead telling us about its hunt for a new home.

“The company is committed to the FAO Schwarz brand and growing its legacy,” a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. “In fact, it is actively searching for another location in midtown Manhattan where FAO Schwarz can welcome shoppers from around the world.”

FAO Schwarz hit it big in pop culture in 1988 with the movie Big, where Tom Hanks’ kid-in-a-grown-up-body character tickled the store’s giant ivories with his feet in a memorable rendition of “Heart and Soul” leading into the classic “Chopsticks.” At that time, FAO had 23 locations, notes Bloomberg, but eventually closed all the stores besides Las Vegas and Manhattan locations.

Those remaining stores were later sold off to D.E. Shaw & Co. in 2008, which then turned around and sold FAO to Toys “R” Us in 2009. The toy company then closed the Las Vegas location and boutiques D.E. Shaw had opened in Macy’s stores.

As for the humans who used to spend their time in the store as employees,the company says it’s “working diligently to place as many full- and part-time team members as possible at Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us locations in the greater New York/New Jersey area.”

If you’re in the market for a $739 giraffe, FAO Schwarz will still maintain an online presence for the time being.