After Katie and I visited Winnie the Pooh at the New York Public Library a few weeks ago, it was only appropriate to continue living out our childhood dreams at, get this, American Girl Place.
Growing up, American Girls had a SPECIAL spot in our hearts – and in Jessica’s too, it’s important to note. Katie and Jessica both had the doll of Kirsten, the pioneer girl from Sweden whose friend DIED ON THE WAY COMING OVER TO AMERICA and I had Samantha, the spoiled rich girl who lived outside of NYC (hmm). I mean, yes, every girl our age loved the dolls, but did they all:
- Read all of the books a thousand times?
- Have every single possible outfit and accessory minus the “Happy Birthday” table and chairs and the “Learns a Lesson” desk chair, which for Samantha included a miniature bookstrap, ice skates, and an art set with real oil paints?
- Have tons of outfits and accessories from the American Girl of Today collections – soccer uniforms, miniature American Girl dolls for their dolls to play with, and a school lunch tray complete with a miniature spork?
- Use shoeboxes to make school lockers, decorate them with pictures from TeenBop and then make miniature textbooks and notebooks for their dolls?
- Subscribe to American Girl Magazine and play with the paper dolls that came with each issue of a real life girl and dresses from her mothers, grandmother’s, and great-grandmother’s lives?
- Cut full-bodied pictures out of magazines and catalogs to create teachers, moms, and dads for all of the paper dolls?
- Make the paper dolls have weekly beauty pageants and talent shows?
- Spend hours going through the catalogs, drawing earrings and tattoos on the dolls and writing jokes and word bubbles on each page?
- Make a live-action movie where my character’s Kirsten doll suddenly turns into an evil human girl, played by Jessica, who tries to take over the world?
- OH here’s a good one…TEAR UP A LITTLE at the age of 24 when they heard that they weren’t going to be making Samantha anymore?
Oh my Gosh, I could seriously go on FOR DAYS but in the interest of potentially still having any friends after this post, I will stop now. I hope that my (way too short) list of favorite American Girl activities displays the level of excitement within Katie and me that Saturday afternoon.
The. Store. Is. Amazing. A girl’s freaking dream. Hell. A 27-year-old’s and a 29-year-old’s dream. The entire first floor is dedicated to the “Girl of Today” which has gotten a little more intense since we were growing up. It’s almost a little creepy (in the most wonderful way) how they display the girls you can choose from:
I thought they had a lot when we were growing up, but they have so many more accessories today! If I were creating the Erin doll of Today, I would probably be able to get a laptop, iPhone, guitar, passport, a mini New York Magazine collection with mini-crossword puzzles to fill out, a yoga mat, and maybe even a pottery wheel.
The second floor is where the historical dolls live. Each historical doll is displayed with her entire collection and in some cases, with her best friend and her collection.
Katie and I spoke with someone who worked there and expressed how sad we were that there was no Samantha or Kirsten memorial (they stopped making Kirsten soon after Samantha). He assured us that others shared the same concerns and they may find a way to honor the American Girls of yesterday in some way soon. He also said that they purposely called it “archiving” rather than “retiring” when they stopped making a doll and hinted that our favorites may be back at some point in the future. You heard it here first, folks.
Aside from totally disrespecting Samantha, Kirsten, and Felicity (a Colonial red-head), American Girl Place really touches on every last detail. In addition to all of the dolls and the merchandise, there is a HAIR SALON where you can pay to get your doll’s hair braided, her ears pierced, or a hearing aid put in.
There is a DOLL HOSPITAL where if your dog or brother got to your doll, she (complete with hospital bed, gown, and bracelet) can stay until she gets fixed. There is a cafe to get a snack for you and a snack for your doll, a design-your-own-t-shirt stand, a place to get American Girl Place souvenirs for your doll. Greatest detail? Probably the doll holders in the bathrooms:
This trip seriously made me wish it were appropriate to carry a doll into adulthood. She could just sit at my cubicle while I work, with a notebook, dressed in a miniature blazer and pumps? And then I could maybe bring her to happy hour where she could hold a miniature vodka-sprite with a tiny miniature lime on the edge of the glass? What do we think about this…could I pull it off?