Christmas windows have been a huge part of the New York City holiday season for years. I distinctly remember anxiously waiting on line, then standing as high as I could on my tip-toes to peer at the Lord & Taylor windows when I was a little girl. I can’t imagine it’s much different for the kiddos these days.
Here’s a quick rundown of where to see them and the themes:
Macy’s (34th & Broadway) is a technology-heavy winter wonderland in its presentation, with an interactive element where you can change what’s happening on the screen with your movements.
The theme of Lord & Taylor (39th & 5th) windows seem much the same as when I was a kid (and this is meant as a compliment). The windows are inspired by vintage New York City, capturing the city’s history of tradition and heritage. The store aims to tell you a holiday story in each window as you walk down Fifth Avenue. And as always, Santa shows up.
The windows at Saks Fifth Avenue (51st & 5th) will depict the story of the Saks Fifth Avenue Yeti, (a cute, not-at-all-scary abominable snowman) said to live on the store’s roof and make snow during the holiday season. And every evening, there’s a 3D light show that maps the holiday story onto the building’s exterior.
Bergdorf Goodman (58th & 5th) goes for the fashion jugular, featuring a “holidays on ice wonderland feast of fashion” displaying clothing from the chicest of the chic.
Barney’s (62nd & Madison) can always be counted on to out-window all the other windows. Visual artist Joanie Lemercier collaborated with Jay Z (Hova!) for four futuristic set pieces complete with incredible light shows and a mini-theater. Visitors can actually become part of the display by climbing inside the last window to take a virtual ride on Santa’s sleigh.
And, finally, the windows at Bloomingdale’s (59th & Lexington) have different county themes, like France, Italy or China. Each window features a big box that swivels around to reveal different scenes in each country.
So, technically model train shows are geared towards children, but you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy them, do you? Remember Bobby Bacala on The Sopranos? (Okay, I know it didn’t end well, but still…)
This yearly event is truly fun for everyone. There are more than a dozen large-scale model railway trains–from American steam engines and streetcars from the late 1800s to modern freight and high-speed passenger trains and trolleys.
The scenery that the trains pass through include waterfalls, rustic bridges and tunnels, plus local landmarks like the Empire State Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Oh–and Thomas the Tank Engine will be there. Score!! Who doesn’t love Thomas?
The show runs daily through January 12th (except for Christmas day) and it’s just a short train ride from Grand Central to get there. It’s probably smart to purchase your tickets ahead of time, due to its popularity.
So check this out. The attention to detail is mind-blowing. I mean, how amazing is this:
Tonight is the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. This 75-year-old, 76-foot spruce from Shelton CT will be illuminated by 45,000 multi-colored LED lights and topped with a 9 ½-foot-wide Swarovski star.
Of course there will be stars of another sort performing–Mary J. Blige (love her!), Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey and Kelly Clarkson, to name a few.
FYI, the first Christmas tree was set up in 1931 by workers who were building Rockefeller Center. The first tree-lighting ceremony ceremony was held in 1933, 80 years ago.
If you can’t get there–or hate crowds–NBC is broadcasting the event starting at 8 p.m., so be sure to tune in if you don’t want to miss the action.
Never to be outdone, we Village folk are having our own tree lighting here in Washington Square Park on December 11th from 5 to 6 p.m. under the arch. The Rob Susman Brass Quartet will play holiday songs–and children and grown-ups alike are encouraged to raise their voices and join in. (And no, you don’t have to be a good singer. Trust me. I know from experience.)
Oh, and Rock Center may have Kelly Clarkson, but we’ll have Santa Claus, people! (Now tell me who has the bigger star?) So come on down, give Santa your list, and stop by for a drink!
And finally, if you can’t make it to any of the above ceremonies, the Metropolitan Museum of Art conducts a tree lighting ceremony every Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m.
So there you have it. We hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season so far!
Hey folks! Today is Small Business Saturday! If you’re spending the day shopping, please try to visit the independent stores of the city. The Village’s Mom & Pop stores are the heart and soul of our neighborhood, and we want to keep them alive and kicking.
FYI, if you’re an American Express card holder, you can register your card to get a one-time $10 statement credit for spending $10 or more in a single, in-store transaction tomorrow at some small businesses in the Village.
Wherever you shop today, please think small for that last-minute Hannukah gift or early Christmas present.
Of course, there’s the parade. That’s a no-brainer for some folks, but not for everyone. Fear not…there’s plenty of other ways to spend the holiday here:
Go ice skating! It’s cold enough but not so frigid that you’ll secretly hate whomever came up with that stupid idea to strap on blades and swoosh around on ice when it’s -30 degrees outside. The Wollman and Lasker Rinks in Central Park, The Bank of America Winter Village in Bryant Park, the Riverbank State Park uptown and Rockefeller Center rinks are all welcoming skaters on Thursday.
Take the kids (or adults) to the Central Park Zoo. Check out the Sea Lions, Red Panda or the oh-so-creepy-looking Emerald Tree Boa.
Speaking of Central Park, all of our city parks are open. Spend an afternoon wandering through Riverside, Prospect or any other green public space soaking up the late autumn sun.
And residents and visitors alike can pay their thanks and good fortune forward by volunteering with groups like God’s Love We Deliver, who cook up and transport delicious meals to those who are too ill or incapacitated to cook themselves. Or Citymeals-on-Wheels, which provide at-home nourishment to the elderly.
The 87th Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade is next week and if you’re planning to go or even just watch it on TV, here are a few things you need to know:
There will be five new floats: Despicable Me 2, Sea World’s Sea of Surprises, Cirque Du Soleil’s flying ship The Dreamseeker, Royal Caribbean’s 3-D postcard float and the enchanting world of Lindt chocolates.
Plus there will be four new balloons: Adventure Time alums Finn and Jake, Spongebob Square Pants, Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon, and a revamped Snoopy balloon (with Woodstock flying on his head).
Musical groups that will perform include Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (yes!), Carrie Underwood, Kristin Chenoweth, Fall Out Boy, Gavin DeGraw, Kelly Pickler, Fantasia and the Goo Goo Dolls.
In addition, there will be a 75th anniversary tribute to the Wizard of Oz PLUS the stars of the Duck Dynasty television show are slated to appear (hopefully not together.)
Remember that for kids, probably the coolest thing is watching the balloons being blown up the evening before. From 3 to 10 pm, head to the Upper West Side from 77st and 81st Streets, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, right by the Museum of Natural History and watch the characters come to life.
Oh, and leave your cars home, people, because traffic is inevitably a nightmare on Thanksgiving Eve.
Personally I hate that the holiday season–at least its commercial side–appears to start earlier and earlier every year. We’ve barely wiped off our Halloween makeup when the television ads and newspaper circulars start flying at us full force.
That being said, the holidays are indeed upon us and they do necessitate buying gifts so it’s time to get organized, people. Certainly our Jewish chums need to get on the ball, because Hannukkah starts in just a little more than a week! Yes, it’s Thanksgivukkah–brought to you by a calendar clash that happens once in a gazillion years.
So way before there are stockings to stuff, there will be eight nights of gifts to be given. And here in New York, there are a bunch of seasonal craft fairs throughout the city where you can find unusual and cool gifts.
The Grand Central Holiday Fair is open every day–and blessedly indoors, which is such a plus on a chilly day. Seventy six vendors will be hawking ornaments, clothing, jewelry and home decor items.
The Union Square Holiday Marketviagra no prescription isn’t open until the 21st, but it will be open seven days a week through December 24th. Not only can you get wonderful crafts, but you can stock up on produce and meats at the Farmer’s Market.
As I’m sure everyone is aware of by now, our neighbor Lou Reed passed away a few weeks ago. This extraordinarily gifted artist helped shaped the past fifty years of music and will be greatly missed by fans everywhere.
Let’s start off the weekend viagra with one of our favorite songs: