More than 150 years ago, a young German immigrant, Frederick August Otto Schwarz, had a vision to establish a magical toy emporium that featured extraordinary, one-of-a-kind toys from all over the world, while creating a theatrical experience to showcase merchandise in a way that would bring it to life.
In 1856, Frederick, the youngest of three Schwarz brothers, emigrated to the U.S. from Germany, joining his brothers in Baltimore, Maryland. Six years later, the brothers opened ”Toy Bazaar,” their first toy retailing business. Following the success of ”Toy Bazaar,” Frederick moved to New York City in 1870 where he opened ”Schwarz Brothers – Importers,” while his brothers operated separate toy stores in Baltimore and Boston. Driven by a love of toys and his vision to provide children with the most amazing products, Frederick stocked his store with exquisitely crafted playthings from Europe. Under his leadership, the business grew rapidly and became the destination for unique, high-quality toys.
Frederick opened a second New York City location in 1876 to meet increased demand and also issued his inaugural catalog for loyal clientele, creating one of the first mail order businesses in the country. Over the next 30 years, the store moved to larger, more prominent locations throughout New York City several times. By 1900, Frederick had renamed the store ”FAO Schwarz,” and many considered him to be the largest toy dealer in the world.
After captivating children and adults alike for 50 years, Frederick August Otto Schwarz passed away in 1911, but his legacy lives on in his beloved brand and in the indelible mark he made on the toy industry.
5th Ave at 58th St, 1 (212) 644-9400
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Closed Sun.
Bus: M1, M2, M3, M4, M31. M57, Q32
Subway: to 5th Avenue (Click a subway icon for more attractions accessible along selected line)
Nearby Places of Interest:
- Central Park
- Central Park Zoo
- Apple 5th Ave Store
- Fifth Ave Shops
- Barney’s New York
- Upper East Side