Thursday, January 13, 2011

Macy's Holiday Windows 2010

By far my favorite NYC holiday windows were the beautifully crafted and exquisitely detailed windows at Macy's.

The windows depicted the story behind "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" with scenes all made from paper by paper artists.

Each window was a chapter of the story. The windows had sound and animation. As you moved from window to window the story unfolded in front of your eyes. It was truly magical.

I don't know how the characters were made - but every other element in the window display was made from paper.

In the first scene Virginia was in her bedroom talking to her brother. They were doing paper crafts themselves. I loved the small details, like the pattern on the wallpaper and the paper chain decoration hanging from the ceiling.

Each scene had several elements. With a change in the lighting and the movement of a wall we then got to see Virginia's parents talking at the kitchen table.

The story moved outside in to the town square. The Christmas Tree was made from layers of paper that had been fringed and slightly curled up at the tips. The buildings moved and the windows were back lit - at some points during the scene silhouettes moved through the building windows. People in the windows were decorating trees and walking in the background. And yes, there was one technical flaw - one building front did not pop up. You can see it clearly behind the Christmas Tree in the picture below. Of course with the building not full upright you can see the beautiful clouds - again all made with paper.

Virginia and her friends head to the library to research the existence of Santa Claus. Of course there is a librarian whizzing across the stacks on a ladder to help them find references to Santa all over the world. (The librarian was a little matronly, no?)

The exterior of the library featured none other than the famous NYC library lions. It is hard to tell in the photo, but the lion was also made completely from cut and shaped paper. The craftsmanship was absolutely amazing.

Virginia and her brother help a corner Santa who has given his coat away to someone in need.

By the end they come to realize there is a Santa Claus (he lives inside each and every one of us)!

And it all wrapped up with the Christmas tree lighting.

We had the best night viewing the holiday windows. Michael came home one night and announced it was the night! It wasn't too cold outside and there was a light dry snow falling. I love to see the windows when there is a little bit of snow falling - it just fits the season and makes it a little magical outside, like you are walking in a snow globe.
We started with dinner at Shake Shack and then took the train down to Macy's. From Macy's we walked over to 5th Ave and looked at the Lord and Taylor windows. From there is was just a few blocks up to Rockefeller Center. There we hit up the ice rink, the tree, the Anthropology windows and Saks Fifth Avenue.
The windows at Saks were very whimsical but they broke from tradition and did not tell a story. They featured special designer dresses in beautifully designed and fanciful settings. Saks did make a huge improvement to the show on the outside of the building. They used to have large snowflakes hanging on the outside of the building. Every so often music would play and the snowflakes would light up with the music. This changed to a screen that covered the entire outside of the upper floors of the building. The snowflakes are now projected on the screen and they 'dance' with the music. It was beautiful.
After Saks we kept walking up 5th Ave - past Cartier, Tiffany's, Bendel's, and Bergdorf Goodman. We popped in to the Plaza and warmed up while looking at their decorations and Christmas Tree. We ended our tour at Barney's. Barney's windows are known for being less than traditional - they brought us Rudolph the Recycled Reindeer made from aluminum cans a few years ago. This year it was all about food and chefs. All of the big name chefs were featured. There was a big food fight with Anthony Bourdain and Bobby Flay and Paula Deen in a Snuggie.
As we walked home we made one more stop at Shack Shake so I could try their salted peanut hot chocolate. It was delicious. It tasted like hot chocolate with a scoop of peanut butter melted in to the cup. The perfect end to a really great night.