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FAO Schwarz's last day: Nostalgia, sadness and bare shelves

Watch: FAO Schwarz shoppers 'so sad' about store's closing

"It's so sad that it's leaving New York. We're all devastated," says one shopper as the FAO Schwarz closed its doors on 5th Ave. for the last time.

On FAO Schwarz's last day at its famous address on Fifth Avenue, tourists and locals alike crowded its floors to grab a final memory.

Despite the rain, the store and surrounding plaza were filled as eager visitors snapped pictures with the costumed guards outside and took in the sights one last time. Many shelves were bare and shoppers scrambled for a final purchase.

"I came here because when my ten-year-old-son found out I was coming to New York, he told me he would love something from the 'Big' store," said Tessa Penman, a South African tourist. "But I couldn't even get him anything! The shelves are empty. I guess everybody had the same idea as me."

A line of at least 20 people, adults and children, waited for one last, precious chance to play on the "Big Piano."

Montreal tourist Katherine Chaverri, 20, was already feeling nostalgic.

"I'm sad future generations of tourists and New Yorkers won't be able to come here and see all these things that you can't see anywhere else," she said. "It's almost unreal walking in here; you feel like a kid again."

The toy store is closing indefinitely after 29 years at 767 Fifth Ave. due to what the company described as "the continuing rising costs of operating a retail location on Fifth Avenue in New York City." The city's brutalreal estate market worries Brooklyn mom Mona Kayhan.

"I lament my son won't grow up experiencing one of the most iconic toy stores in the world that has given such pride to New Yorkers," she said. "Places like this, that give the city its character, are continuing to get suffocated."

"The city will be unrecognizable by the time my son is old enough to appreciate it," she added.

Though the company said it is "actively searching for another location," some were not too optimistic about its ultimate fate.

"I mean, they have stuffed animals for $700," said Sabrina Chaverri, a 19-year-old tourist from Montreal and Katherine's sister. "Is that really sustainable? It's really cool as a fantasy land but buying half these things is a fantasy."


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