Location: Manhattan, New York, USA
Address: 767 5th Avenue
Date: Nov 2014
One of the things that the FAO Schwarz toy store in Manhattan is most famous for is that it was used as a filming location for the movie Big. Almost everyone remembers Tom Hanks dancing on a giant piano along with the owner of MacMillan Toys (Robert Loggia). First they play a rendition of Hoagy Carmichael's Heart & Soul and then finish off with Chopsticks. Both songs were executed beautifully due to some fancy footwork.
When we last visited FAO Schwarz the Big Pianos were located upstairs on the second floor. There were lots of children taking a turn walking or jumping along the keys of the piano that was on display. We didn't hear anything that even resembled a familiar tune. The notes were all there, but the order and timing was all off.
The Big Piano was created by Remo Saraceni in 1982 and is designed to be played with your feet by walking up and down the keys. Many people visit the FAO Schwarz store in Manhattan for a chance to play on the piano just like they did in the movie Big. You can play on a similar piano and even purchase one to continue the fun at home, but the real piano used in the movie has been donated to Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum.
Sadly, the FAO Schwarz store in New York has now closed its 5th Avenue location. If you wish to visit the exact spot where Tom Hanks played piano with his feet then you will have to find a way into the building once the new tenants arrive. The actual spot is not up on the second floor at all. In the movie you see Tom Hanks come down the escalator that is always surrounded by stuffed animals and has a distinctive striped pattern to the glass wall behind it.
He turns right and then walks until he realizes he has stepped onto the piano. He walks up and down the keys and does a body slide before remembering his piano lessons. He is only 12 years old after all. Once they finish playing he walks away with a very impressed Mr. MacMillan and they go right past the clock tower. Some of you should recall the FAO Schwarz clock face which sang "Welcome to our World of Toys".
Basically enter from the 5th Avenue doors and walk straight up the middle of the store until you are in line with the bottom of the escalators. This is the spot. This is where a classic movie moment happened in one of the greatest toy stores in the world and makes us all feel like kids again.
Map of Our World
The Big Piano
Post # 64
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