Thursday, May 28, 2015

A notable passing

The New York Times reports on the closing of the F. A. O. Schwarz toy store at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.  Many people will remember a scene from the store in the Tom Hanks movie Big.

My memory is related to that scene.  My best friend growing up, Michael Sack, was the son of Harold Sack, one of the brothers who owned and operated Israel Sack, Inc., the most prominent antiques dealer in America.  They sold furniture to Jackie Kennedy at the White House, among other places.  Their showroom was on 57th Street, just a few yards from Schwarz.  As young boys, Mike and I would sometimes accompany Harold to work, and we'd play ball with our pink "Spauldeens" (yes!) among the "old furniture" in the showroom (including some very beautiful and valuable Goddard secretaries and the like.)*

Harold would gently suggest that we go downstairs to the toy store. We did, and we'd spend hours playing air hockey and the like, saving generations of antiques from irreparable harm!

Here's the scene from Big:

* Another historical note.  Spauldeens were in fact made by the Spaulding Company in western Massachusetts.  The original pink balls were actually the inside core of tennis balls.  The defective ones were sold as playing balls on their own! A nice way of making a profit from cast-offs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My childhood of the 70s featured a lot of time with what we called "Super Pinkys" -- and I thought they were just for my generation.