Our family has had a long standing tradition of throwing open the doors for the holiday season on Thanksgiving eve. When the kids were small, we celebrated Thanksgiving eve beginning at Juniors Restaurant for enormous sandwiches and the best cheesecake in NY, and ending at Toys R Us Times square. Here the girls would write their first Christmas lists of the season. Cj’s list always included the ferris wheel – the actual one – and nothing else. Once she saw that giant structure in the center of the store, she couldn’t think about another thing! Tori’s list inevitably included the largest stuffed animal she could find. As the girls got older and more sophisticated , we moved our outing to FAO Schwarz, where – armed with paper and pencil for writing down their choices for Santa (and Grandma), the creative and unique toys really spiked the imagination. And, oh the life sized stuffed animals at this store! A more grown up dinner ensued at Tao on 57th street with the obligatory photo in front of the Giant Buddha.
Alas, the girls have grown, and Toys R Us and FAO Schwartz have both closed (update: FAO Schwartz reopened in November 2018 in Rockefeller Center, so hand written list creation is a thing of the past. Now we get text messages with random links to the items that appeal. And for CJ, while it is no longer the Ferris wheel, her current suggestions are no less fantastical (think a weekend trip to Iceland)!
For the past few years, our Thanksgiving tradition still includes a beautiful dinner at Tao in midtown, and the activity has shifted to a family tour of the Holiday Windows. Here’s a brief review of the 2016 Holiday Window displays.
Saks Fifth Ave – at 49th St and 5th Ave.
Theme: Land of 1000 delights – Bonus: Watch the light show every 10 minutes on the facade of the building. Best seen from across the street in the Rockefeller Center Plaza.
Henri Bendel – at 55th and 5th Ave. features British Graffiti artist James Goldcrown’s “Love Wall”
Tiffany & Co. – at 57th and 5th Ave. –
Sadly Tiffany cancelled their holiday windows due to the proximity to the Trump Tower and all of the protesting going on in that area. There are 2 small windows on 57th St. that are designed and worth taking a look at if you are in the area.
Bergdorf Goodman – at 58th St and 5th Ave.
Theme: Destination Extraordinary – each window depicts a unique imagined destination. Always our favorite windows, the team at Bergdorf does an outstanding job of creating enchanting landscapes and always involves animals.
Barneys – at 60th St. and Madison Ave.
Theme: Love Peace Joy Project – Barney’s can always be counted on to step away from tradition. This year they asked a group of well known artists to design their interpretation of Love Peace Joy Project and the playful results even manage to poke fun at retail a bit.
Bloomingdales – at 59th St and Lexington Ave.
Theme: Light – a group of visual artists were asked to create their vision of a chandelier which embodies their definition of the word “light”. This one was our favorite chandelier.