NYC’s holiday windows celebrate city’s resilience in 2021

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New York’s holiday windows are back, baby! And they’re better, shinier and brighter than ever.

“This will be a Thanksgiving and a holiday season like no other,” said the perennially sunny Linda Fargo, Senior Vice President of fashion at Bergdorf Goodman, adding she was ready to savor every festive moment after last year’s COVID-burdened holiday season.

It's that time of year to capture NYC's extraordinary department stores' holiday window displays.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year to capture NYC’s extraordinary department stores’ holiday window displays.
NY Post photo composite
Santa amidst the elaborate holiday decorations inside of Bergdorf Goodman.
Santa amidst the elaborate holiday decorations inside of Bergdorf Goodman.
Christopher Sadowski

“I’ve noticed that the city lights seem to sparkle and glow more,” Fargo said. “Dinners with friends feel warmer and more satisfying. It’s a treat for tired eyes to see people dressing up again. There’s a palpable energy around us, which it feels good to just be a part of. It’s great to see our resilient city getting its mojo back!”  

Midtown was actually beginning to look a lot like Christmas this week. Tourists gaped at a mannequin in a sequined mermaid dress astride a bedazzled purple motorcycle behind Bergdorf’s glass. At Macy’s a group of enchanted children stopped to pat the nose of a cartoonish reindeer on display. And outside Bloomingdale’s passersby stopped in their tracks to marvel at a rad skateboard-riding T-rex.

“He’s everybody’s favorite,” said Bloomie’s Vice President of Visual Merchandising and Windows, John Klimkowski, of the dinosaur, which was inspired by his favorite holiday present from childhood.

One of Bloomingdales' holiday window displays.
Striking a glam pose inside the holiday windows at Bloomingdales.
Paul Martinka

This year, Klimkowski asked his team for some of their own joyful holiday memories, and set out to bring some of their most cherished gifts to life, from a ballerina-spinning jewelry box to a collection of hand-knit sweaters from Mom.

“The objective was to create a group of windows that told happy stories that meant to bring out the child in all of us with memories of the holidays,” he said.

Saks channeled that childlike wonder in their windows — asking actual kiddos for their input.

Saks Fifth Avenue celebrates its annual holiday window and light show.
Saks Fifth Avenue’s windows focus on reconnecting with family this holiday season.
Darian DiCianno/BFA.com

“Early on, we realized that this holiday season would be about reconnecting with friends, family and loved ones, and we wanted to bring that idea to life in the windows in an inspiring way,” said Andrew Winton, SVP, Creative at Saks Fifth Avenue. “But [we] realized that kids could probably provide much more imaginative ideas about the holidays than we could. We started talking to kids around New York City and having them draw their dream holiday scenarios — where they’d go, who they’d go with, and what they’d do there — and then took these drawings and turned them into massive, artful installations in our windows.”

Fargo said the annual tradition is all about encouraging people to find the sparkle and beauty in life. “Appreciating the present moment,” she explained, “where every healthy, delicious and happy moment is a gift and a present.”

One of the extravagant holiday window displays at Bergdorf Goodman.
One of the extravagant holiday window displays at Bergdorf Goodman.
Christopher Sadowski

Bergdorf Goodman celebrates “the present moment,” inspired by “the spirit of freedom, abandon and adventure.” The luxe store’s famously extravagant displays burst with exquisite details: an apartment building with whimsical paper rooms and stuffed fabric cats and mice posed among a maze of skyscrapers; a mannequin in a gold brocade dress dancing atop a moon in deep space; and all manner of painted insects and birds. Inside, “Bergdorf Goods,” a specialty pop-up shop, offers an extra dose of magic, with custom NYC-themed merch, like a Sardi’s-logo sweater from Michael Kors and a gem-encrusted hot dog clutch from Judith Leiber. 754 Fifth Ave., at 58th Street

The dazzling annual light show at Saks Fifth Avenue.
The dazzling annual light show at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Darian DiCianno/BFA.com

Saks Fifth Avenue’s windows focus on reconnecting with family this holiday season — after the pandemic kept so many loved ones apart last year. The design team polled NYC kids, including members of the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club, asking them to draw their dream holiday, and the windows re-create their illustrations — featuring cartoonish carnival rides, a video game come to life and a tropical getaway, done in bright, playful colors and hand-sculpted structures. At night, passersby can once again see the store’s dazzling annual light show, featuring 700,000 twinkling LED lights spanning the building’s 10-story facade. Fifth Avenue and 50th Street

Tiptoe the reindeer with her arctic pals at Macy's.
Tiptoe the reindeer with her arctic pals at Macy’s.
Stephen Yang

Macy’s delightful moving windows tell the story of Tiptoe, “a bright-eyed reindeer” who dreams of joining Santa’s sleigh team to “deliver magic around the world on Christmas Eve.” The displays show the red-nosed Tiptoe going to flight school, and learning to soar with the help of her arctic pals, including a scarf-donning polar bear, perky penguin and a pair of mouse friends. 34th Street at Herald Square

A Bloomingdales holiday window.
The holiday windows at Bloomingdales celebrate the store’s “Give Happy” campaign
Paul Martinka

This year, Bloomie’s gives an extra dose of cheer and optimism with its colorful, over-the-top windows celebrating the store’s “Give Happy” campaign. The windows bring to life staffers’ favorite childhood memories, such as spending Christmas morning playing with their new toys. A penguin family dressed in stylish scarves have a bevy of retro video games under their tree, a mannequin rides a T-rex with a Christmas tree body and a pair of mannequins in vibrant knits snuggle on a crochet loveseat in an explosion of yarn — a tribute to one staffer’s memories of the ugly Christmas sweaters his mom knit for him every year. Lexington Avenue at 59th Street

A Sarafina's dance performance at Hudson Yards.
Every Saturday through Dec. 18, the Sarafina’s perform at Hudson Yards.
Stefano Giovannini

Hudson Yards may not have windows filled with fabric cats and cutesy reindeer, but the West Side mall does have an equally snazzy holiday attraction: dancers!

Every Saturday through Dec. 18, the Sarafina’s — founded by Radio City Rockette Purdie Baumann — don their sparkliest spangled frocks and perform a high-kicking routine to classic Big Apple tunes, from Sintatra’s “New York, New York” to the opening number of Bernstein’s “On the Town.” The eight leggy ladies put on their show under 115 miles of twinkling lights in the first floor’s Great Room, at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. — part of Hudson Yards’ “Shine Bright” festivities. 20 Hudson Yards, at 33rd Street and 10th Avenue

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