‘Tis the season! A local shares six must-see themed displays in New York this holiday season.
New York City is amazing all year round, but during the holidays it’s exceptionally magical! The city comes alive and, believe it or not, it’s illuminations are even more than normal. One of the highlights of the holidays is the elaborate displays curated by some of the world’s most famous department stores and shopping centers. Even during the uncertain times that we’re facing this year, one can still find a way to enjoy the holiday spirit. They can be enjoyed virtually or by bundling up and wandering around to admire the impressive spectacles, with or without getting some of those gift purchases out of the way. Here are six holiday displays you absolutely shouldn’t miss.
1. Macy’s Herald Square
The holiday season kicks off with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which finishes at the iconic 34th Street store, whose six window displays might be the most famous of all. Macy’s, one of the world’s most famous, was the first to have a window display in 1874! This year’s theme is “Give, Love, Believe” and honors New York City’s first responders and essential workers for their tremendous hard work during this tough year. The windows make use of the latest technology and this year are interactive. Highlights include the Thanksgiving Day Parade, as well as the words “Thank You” written in 16 different languages to give gratitude to the first responders and the marchers for equality. The pièce de résistance is a 15-foot-tall Santa that stands atop the Broadway marquee.
2. Saks Fifth Avenue
Saks definitely has the most elaborate holiday display in the city. The store decided to forego its annual grand store lighting this year, and instead will hold 20 smaller lighting ceremonies. Partnering with Mastercard, the theme for 2020 is “This is How We Celebrate” and it is meant to explore how various communities that make up America celebrate the holiday. New York moments will be brought to life as the 6 Holiday windows will each feature an iconic setting of New York City to display different celebrations. There will also be the ten-story tall theatrical light show. If you feel more comfortable enjoying the displays from the comfort of your couch, tune in to one of the livestreams and watch as celebrities unveil each display from inside of the store’s windows. The big reveal occurs on November 23 with the 20 individual ceremonies lasting up until December 23.
This year’s holiday windows at Bloomingdale’s are based on the store’s “GIve Happy” campaign, which highlights positivity and togetherness. Each of the campaigns’ colors are displayed individually in the five different windows, creating a color block rainbow when looked at from afar. The displays are sparkly, full of glitter and feature things like reindeer, giant hearts in the red “Give Love” window, and giant snowflakes to spread a simple, yet cheerful message. Bloomingdales included some new “scents” to their displays as peppermint, pine and other holiday scents are released from two of the windows so you can smell them as you walk by! The unveiling on November 23rd featured a virtual holiday benefit supporting the Child Mind Institute.
4. The Shops at Columbus Circle
The Holiday Under the Stars at the Shops at Columbus Circle has become an iconic part of the New York holiday scene. The twelve, towering, 14-foot stars that hang from the 150-foot ceiling of the Great Room overlook Central Park, with a color-changing, musical light show. This magical light show comprises the world’s largest specially crafted exhibit of illuminated color display. With shows every half hour from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, it’s the perfect way to escape the short, cold winter days. The shops also offer extended shopping hours if you need to get some last-minute gifts.
5. Hudson Yards
Hudson Yards, New York’s newest shopping, dining and arts destination, does everything on a massive scale, and the holidays are no exception. The holiday tradition continues this year starting November 22 with Shine Bright, presented by Wells Fargo. Designed to bring out the spirit of the season, Shine Bright encompasses an indoor-outdoor artistic light and music installation, seasonal events, and interactive family-friendly experiences. Spend a quick visit to the North Pole at the virtual Santa Station on Level 3 and say hi to Rudolph and friends, or take a peek inside Santa’s workshop. Magical tunes fill the air by Broadway musicians as eight pianos, decorated by local artists, are installed throughout the Shops, part of the non-profit organization Sing For Hope . A new experience can be had depending if you are watching from above or below, and with the vast size of Hudson Yards, viewpoints are aplenty.
6. Bergdorf Goodman
#BergdorfGoodness, the 2020 campaign for the high-end department store Bergdorf Goodman, focuses on the season of giving back. The windows aim to remind its visitors that even during the hard times, goodness does exist. Instead of high fashion items that are normally front and center, the store decorated its iconic windows in a different way. On Fifth Avenue, each window on the façade displays one of the company’s core values: hope, love, joy, equality, harmony, and kindness. The three-dimensional letters are eye-catching and set in a polychromatic acrylic mirror, brightening up the view from the street.