What to Expect at the Harry Potter Store in NYC

The Harry Potter store opened in NYC in June, and I’m guessing it’s still as busy now as it was when it opened. We went last weekend (mid-December) on a Sunday, which is probably one of the busiest times we could have gone. To find out more about the virtual queue system, scroll to the bottom. Getting INTO the 21,000 foot store is an ordeal. What to Expect at the Harry Potter Store in NYC? Read on.

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Visiting the New FAO Schwarz

What to expect when visiting the new FAO Schwarz? This store, on the ground level of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, does not disappoint.

You might recall that FAO Schwarz left its flagship 5th Avenue location in 2015. We still think of it when we walk by, but it was fun to go back in and see some of the same excitement in a different location.

If it’s crowded, like during the holiday season, you’ll likely have to wait in line when visiting the new FAO Schwarz. That’s not unique to this store. The LEGO store had a snaking line around the block, the Nike store often has a big line, and the Harry Potter store has you scan their QR code to get in a virtual line.

The store has toys in a range of prices, like this Swarovski crystal toy car, originally $25,000 but now discounted to $14,995 (because $15,000 might seem too expensive still).

The Big piano is still there, with a line to wait in to play on it.

The lion below moves its head. It’s a little scary and I’m guessing a lot of kids ignore or don’t see the “don’t touch” sign. Granted, the head is up high enough that the little ones can’t reach

Lots of options for Build-a-Bear, and you can see the stuffing machine in the background.

Also lots of Barbie options. Not quite the Barbie alcove that Toys R Us had, but there is a special section with special dolls.

It was nice to see some diversity in the doll adoption area, with the iconic guards above, named Sara, and the dolls below with various options.

If your child likes dressing up (and which ones don’t?), there’s an adorable costume area including many Nutcracker type costumes.

Even the check-out area is festive when visiting the new FAO Schwarz.

Candy galore – a nice things especially since Dylan’s Candy Bar’s flagship closed during the pandemic.

Customize race cars when visiting the new FAO Schwarz!

Have you been to FAO Schwarz? What do you think about visiting the new FAO Schwarz versus the old one on 5th Avenue?

All photos: copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Review: the QVC Tour

I have to admit, I’m not a home shopping on TV kind of gal, (or even home shopping on the internet person). Certainly I buy things online, but I rarely browse sites just to see what they’re selling, and if I’m going  to watch TV, it’s not going to be a shopping show.  While I’m not alone in that, I am in QVC’s demographic, of women 35-64, who are educated homeowners. BUT, I can’t resist a factory tour, and the QVC tour of the studio sounded like too much fun to pass up.

Inside the QVC studio. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

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Fossil Hunting With Kids at Big Brook

Did you know that October 12 is National Fossil Day? With a few days off this week, and fall break/teachers’ convention coming up next month, you may be looking for day trip ideas. Think about going fossil hunting in New Jersey! Turns out there are a couple of places that are easy to get to, where you can wade through streams looking for sharks’ teeth, oyster shells, squid fossils, and other items that are millions of years old. Even though you’re not by the ocean, this area was once covered in water.

Big Brook Preserve. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Big Brook Preserve. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

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Review: Camelback Ski Resort With Kids

Camelback Mountain

For some relatively local (to us) Pennsylvania skiing, we headed to Camelback Ski resort with kids this year. It’s funny to see the outdoor water park slides covered in snow, as this resort is also a summer destination.

Camelback is in the Poconos. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Camelback is in the Poconos. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Given all the crazy weather this season, we were happy to see a solid base. Plus, they make snow, and we got to experience that ourselves, with snow machines at the base and on some of the slopes. I never realized how loud they are. It’s like going past a jet engine. After one run where about 6 of them were blowing in a row, we had to go in and take a break, as our faces were so cold from the blowing snow.

As for mountain stats: Continue reading “Review: Camelback Ski Resort With Kids”

9/11 Museum Review – Should You Take Kids?

This summer I went to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. I went without my kids because I wanted to see if it was appropriate for them, and also wanted the time to go through there without the pressure of “I want to leave!” “I’m hungry!” “Are you almost done?”

pool museum
You can see the museum in the background – it’s the lower building just above the treeline on the left/center.

I’ll get into details about tickets, timing etc. at the bottom, along with age issues. I’ll also save my grand overarching thoughts about the museum for the end, so if you’re just looking for that, scroll to the bottom area. First I’d like to lead you through the museum. Continue reading “9/11 Museum Review – Should You Take Kids?”

The Great Falls in Paterson

Have you been to the Great Falls in Paterson? If not, it’s worth going. We took a trip over there this summer and it was gorgeous!

Paterson Falls

This place has a lot of history, going back to Alexander Hamilton’s time, when he envisioned Paterson as the country’s first planned industrial city. He wanted to use hydropower from the Passaic River’s Great Falls. Hamilton and the Society for Establishing Useful Manufacturers (a real mouthful), started this in Paterson in 1792. Since then, Paterson’s industry became known for fabrics (silk spinning, cotton, textile machinery, jute, weaving, dyeing, etc.). When I posted a picture of the Falls on my personal Facebook page some time back, one of my friends said her first job was working in textiles in Paterson, and she’s not even old! You can read more of the history of the Great Falls here. Continue reading “The Great Falls in Paterson”