I guess it depends what you're expecting and what you're going into these stores for. If it's for the experience, they're probably fairly equal. FAO has the Big Piano and an enormous candy store.
If you have a spare quarter of a million, it's yours to take home!
Gorgeous child didn't even ask for candy, we found a great ice cream place near the hotel and she was happy with that daily treat. Bless. She did like to look at the Lego too. Boo to Batman but a big yay for the Statue of Liberty (considering we didn't bother with the real thing).
The Muppet What-Not Workshop is far and above the best thing to do at FAO at the moment. Poppet certainly made her own, it cost just over a hundred bucks and we now have a Muppet to call our own. The kooky salesman/puppeteer told us that FAO is the only place in the world where you can do this (though you can apparently order online and ship within the US).
I would have gone for a crazy monster-style Muppet, but Poppet's heart still apparently lies firmly in the princess corner. We were given a package full of vinyl stickers so she could work her magic. Left it with the puppeteer for half an hour to stitch together and that was that. Fun!
Princess Muppet has taken up residence with us now and comes out for a chat from time to time. We are going to have to watch some more Muppets soon to show her some of her heritage.
Muppets and pianos aside, FAO is just a toy store. I was a little disappointed, I guess I expected them to stock either products you can't buy elsewhere (apart from Muppets) or have a larger range of existing stuff. But we didn't plonk any money down after we left the workshop.
No problem, Poppet still loved it all.
We went to ToysRUs the following day (on our way to see Mary Poppins on Broadway, which was ten types of awesome!) and we started off with a ride on the gigantic ferris wheel. Pretty cool.
The enormous animated T-Rex on the top floor was pretty full on so we high tailed it over to the Barbie section (which was huge) and finally found some toys to buy.
There is plenty of Lego to be found here too (yep, another Statue of Liberty). You can hang around outside and have your photo take with Sponge Bob or Elmo if that's your kind of thing, thankfully Poppet isn't into that! It was crazy crazy busy in the theatre district and we didn't fancy any dawdling on street corners with poor 'actors' sweltering inside fluffy costumes.
It really is a jolly holiday with Mary, no wonder that it's Mary that we love! I don't want to say too much about the show if you haven't seen it, it's great to have some surprises. If if comes to town, go see it, don't be thinking it's over-priced and not worth it. What a spectacle! Even Husband enjoyed it, and he is NOT a fan of musical theatre by any stretch of the imagination.
As for the toystore verdict? Well, considering ToysRUs owns FAO Schwartz it probably doesn't matter much to them. At the end of the day, they're both good toy stores which carry products you can buy most places. But the ferris wheel and the Muppet thing made them both pretty special. Definitely take your kids if you get to NYC. Ours loved both, but the American Girl Place is still her firm favourite.
So, we dragged our tired little tootsies back to the hotel (found a cab halfway there) and decided to stop off for a burger around the corner. We'd been eying off this burger joint since we arrived, but on this day we lucked out and found a table before the rush.
Of course, it wouldn't be America without a disclaimer or two. The other two had fabulous burgers and I opted for a spicy taco salad. Just the ticket!
And of course, it wouldn't be New York without a little local 'colour' now would it. He was just doing his happy dance...