American Girl Place New York never was at the top of our list of stores to see in December or any other time, for that matter. But when your granddaughter has asked Santa for Grace Thomas, the Girl of the Year 2015, and you’re within walking distance of 609 Fifth Avenue, you have to go there. Right?
And we were hardly alone. In fact, if you are even the least bit claustrophobic, you may want to steer clear. After all, there’s nothing more panicky than crowds of well-dressed women (and some men) with cute little well-dressed girls in tow holding dolls wearing the exact same outfit as their owners. There was a rush on the sidewalk where we waited to get in. (The store holds only so many at a time, we were told.) And then there was a rush on each of the four floors to find the right doll and the right outfits — Better hurry, they get snatched up unmercifully — all in the name of sweetness and love, of course.
The Girl of the Year section loomed large. Grace Thomas (2015) likes Paris and baking, so imagine cute sweaters, berets, travel luggage, and a whole kitchen with eensy little baking utensils.
It could have been overwhelming were it not for catchy displays and tireless employees. Store clerks were helpful. So very helpful. And moms, too, directed us to related things we just had to have — desk, matching pj’s, and a “special” on an ice skating outfit. Little kids, noting our indecision, showed us what they liked so we could put that on our credit card, too!
Even the lines had a charm of their own. How often do you converse with five-year-olds and their dolls while waiting to fork over your next paycheck for dolly things?
With the nicest clerks anywhere, we paid to have the goods shipped home rather than carry them through the subway. (Who knows what that cost. It was worth it.)
And then we explored the top floor where we heard there were parties goin’ on. That’s right. Genuine tea parties. And luncheons. Where gatherings of women and little girls and cute American Girl dolls sit at tables while waiters rush around serving tiny, tasty sandwiches and pink lemonade.
Of course, if your dolly needs a “do,” you could get her one. Right there. In the windowed room overlooking Fifth Avenue. Who wouldn’t want that?
We were amazed. No, that’s an understatement. The phenomenon of American Girl had never confronted us, the parents of two sons who were content with G. I. Joe’s and Transformers during their boyhood years.
- Begun in 1986, American Girl is devoted entirely to celebrating girls.
- With headquarters in Middleton, Wisconsin, American Girl operates 21 retail stores with 2,400 employees (except during the holidays when there are over 5,000).
- Over 27 million American Girl dolls have been sold since 1986.
- The AG catalog ranks as the largest consumer toy catalog in the U. S.
- Over 72 million people have visited the American Girl retail stores.
- American Girl’s charitable giving over the years has topped $100 million in cash and products.
So, yes, we put American Girl Place on our places-to-visit list when in NYC. And you should, too. In addition, if it ever becomes a public company, we’re buying stock! This many little girls and their moms can’t be wrong. It’s joy, chaos, and Christmas spirit rolled into one not-to-be-forgotten American Girl experience.
For more information:
American Girl Place — New York, 609 Fifth Avenue at 49th Street, New York, NY 10017; http://www.americangirl.com/retailstore/new-york