The iconic FAO Schwarz flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City — known for larger-than-life stuffed animals like Pup Plush and the piano dance mat made famous in the movie “Big” — will be closing on July 15. The upscale toy store is unable to keep up with high rents of the illustrious retail neighborhood, which includes shops like the Apple Store, Bergdorf Goodman, and Tiffany & Co. It will shutter after 29 years on the block.
The oldest toy store in the U.S., which was founded in 1863 by German immigrant Frederick August Otto Schwarz, opened in Baltimore under the name “Toy Bazaar.” The Fifth Avenue location opened in 1986 is the last store remaining of the chain that, at one point, had 40 locations.
The store gained Hollywood spotlight in the 1988 movie “Big.” Tom Hanks, who played the lead character of a young boy trapped in an adult’s body, played “Heart and Soul” and “Chopsticks” on the huge piano along with actor Robert Loggia. Later, the toy shop was also featured in the 1995 Woody Allen film “Mighty Aphrodite,” the 2011 film “Smurfs,” and several other movies over the years.
Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. acquired FAO Schwarz in 2009 and carries a line of their toys. However, the toy giant is also suffering financial woes and plans to close their Time Square flagship location by the end of 2016, according to TIME.