T’is the season! The holiday season is in full swing and there’s no place better to see fully decked halls and bright lights than the the big city- New York! Now, you may be thinking of the giant tree at the Rockefeller Center, or the beautiful skating rink in Central Park – but the real holiday show goes on in the windows of shops downtown.
Retailers have been decorating storefronts since the late 1800’s, but the real fun began in 1874 when R.H.Macy (yes, the creator of that Macy’s department store) set up a full blown holiday presentation in his store’s window. The set up, featuring scenes from “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and showcasing a set of beautiful porcelain dolls spurred the trend of Holiday Window showcase we can all enjoy today. As more and more retailers set up shop in the Big Apple, the competition for the best holiday displays got more and more elaborate – each retailer attempting to attract shoppers and out do the rest with the opulent and detailed scenes showcased in the front windows of their stores.
The holidays are my favorite time to be in the city. From the tree at 30 Rock, to the ornaments in the fountains, the bright lights – wintertime in the city is certainly a magical time of the year. Walking down the Holiday Window Walk, my first stop was Saks Fifth Avenue’s “Winter Palace on 5th”. Painted soldier trumpeters, heralding white angels and the beautifully decorated promenade unfolded a path to the most celebrated holiday light display of the year. The 2 1/2 minute show is absolutely spell binding – transforming the entire Saks store front into an epic light show featuring 5 million crystals!
Next up on the walk was Tiffany & Co. Tiffany has a long standing tradition of creating holiday windows with wintry scenes set inside miniature theaters. Tiffany maintains its tradition of elegance again this year with beautiful frosty displays featuring glittering jewels.
A short walk further stood a sight to be seen. Bergdorf Goodman’s windows may have be more brilliant than all the others combined! Bergies’ theme is “Brilliant Holiday” – a Swarovski Crystals collaboration. And brilliant it was! The most opulent scenes included “The Crown Jewels” – consisting of crystallized suits of armor; “The Crystal Cavern” – a virtual amethyst cave; “The Treasure Chest” – a giant pearl sculpture of Neptune and friends; and “The Crystal Ball” – a fortune tellers lair. Definitely should have brought my sunglasses!
The rest of the stores on the holiday window walk were brilliant and unique as well. Barney’s offered a 35-foot ice locker that also functions as a live ice-carving workshop! Barney’s also had two classic displays, “Penguin Chase” and “Winter Brilliance,” the latter of which was created in partnership with renowned sculptor Dale Chihuly.
Lord & Taylor’s holiday windows weren’t just about adding sparkle to New York City’s storefronts. The retailer joined forces with Habitat for Humanity New York City as a precursor to a partnership between the two for 2016.
I was blown away by the magical, elaborate, and minute details that had gone into this year’s holiday displays. Each one was unique and incredibly beautiful in it’s own right. But, if I had to pick a favorite, my favorite window is – for its simplicity, timeless elegance, and minute intricate detail – the one with tiny blue box that holds an amazing treasure. I’d have to choose the one with the huge famous 128.54 Tiffany Diamond with the yellow center stone (imitation of course). But then again, maybe I am just a tad biased!