City Pulse

By Katie Calautti

Manhattan topography doesn’t exactly allow for a genuine “over the river and through the woods” holiday experience, but don’t avert to Grinch mode just yet!

Instead, consider re-writing the classic tune NYC-style by hitting the pavement to scope out some of the season’s merriest window displays. Over Herald Square and through the 5th Ave throngs, anyone?

A straight shot from 34th to 59th Streets, the following seven department stores have spared no expense – decking their glass-fronted halls with festive fashion, music and flare. And if the packaging looks this good, imagine what’s inside!

Macy’s 151 W 34th Street (Between 6th & 7th Aves)
As the first store ever to create extravagant window set-up’s for the pure fun and joy of the season, Macy’s seems the logical starting point for the jolly trek. This year’s windows follow the making of iconic Christmas elements – from lights, ornaments and tinsel to snow and tree-toppers – all with an underlying theme of “Believe.”

Lord & Taylor 424 5th Ave (Between 38th & 39th Streets)
With each section telling a story, the windows illustrate favorite Christmas traditions using intricate animated figures, including: cards, treats, stories, ornaments, songs and toys.

Saks Fifth Avenue 12 E 49th St (At 5th Ave)
These fashionable windows boast one-of-a-kind dresses – designed by the likes of Carolina Herrera, Zac Posen and Oscar de la Renta – detailed in Crystallized Swarovski Elements.

Henri Bendel 712 5th Ave (At 56th St)
The department store invited prominent designers (Missoni, Matthew Williamson and Ungaro, among others) to create one-of-a-kind gowns for the eight mannequins that occupy their seasonal window, which is drenched in sepia tones and chandeliers, and outlined in fluorescent red neon. Adding to the spirit of the season, all of the gowns have been auctioned off, with donations benefiting the Make A Wish Foundation.

Bergdorf Goodman 754 5th Ave (At 58th St)
This year’s theme features twelve “Calendar Girls” as seasonal muses – the windows represent Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Holiday in lavish style, featuring designer duds, opulent birds, flowers, butterflies, a lagoon, pastoral settings and an enchanted forest.

Barneys New York 660 Madison Ave (At 61st St)
The store invites you to “Have a Hippie Holiday” with exhibits featuring the new Volkswagen Beetle, peace signs, psychedelic rock posters, tie-dye, black light and much more.

Bloomingdale’s 1000 Third Ave (at 59th St)
Inspired by Tony Bennett’s new holiday album, “Tony Bennett: A Swingin’ Christmas,” the eleven holiday windows highlight selections from the CD (including, “Oh Christmas Tree,” “Silver Bells,” “Winter Wonderland” and other favorites), styled in the image of vintage pop-up greeting cards.

Originally published December 2008
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