Happy Holidays everyone! We have done most of our yearly holiday hike looking at the major holiday windows around the city. We will fill in the blanks when we finish up this coming Tuesday and edit this posting. Our hike follows the map here loosely: Map
LINCOLN CENTER TREE
During construction of Lincoln Center, there was no tree set up last year if I recall correctly, but the tree is back! It is located at a park across the street from Lincoln Center at Columbus between 63rd and 64th street. The picture below was during the lighting of the tree, so there is a stage in front of it making it appear smaller. Still, if you’re looking for the grandest tree, Rockefeller Center’s tree is still the biggest, but this is a nice one if you’re in the area.
From Lincoln Center, you can walk on down south to Columbus Circle in the Time Warner Center (58th Street and 8th Ave.) to see the holiday stars in the lobby. This is a consistent yearly display where “stars” that are multi-paneled change colors in sync with Christmas songs. They play hourly until 5 pm, after which, they play continuously. This is a great place to warm up indoors.
The next stop is heading way east to Bloomingdale’s which is at 59th Street between Lexington Avenue and 3rd Avenue. If the walk is too far, you can pick up a crosstown bus (M31 or M57) on 57th Street using a Metro Card. If you’re there during the right hours, go in and check out Forty Carrots inside for some great frozen yogurt.
This year they have improved their Holiday Windows quite a bit. They have a theme honoring Christmas shopping bags from various years that turn or open up with a Christmas theme within each. You can also get your picture captured with cameras you can trigger from the outside. The windows are upping the interactivity!
There are stars on the side to touch to trigger the camera, and it is displayed on video screens above the window.
Barneys is located on 61st Street and Madison Avenue a short walk away from Bloomingdales. As last year, they seem to have very interesting themes. You almost wouldn’t be able to tell that it is the holidays outside of one section with a TV screen to make your holiday wishes via Tweets. Again, interactivity. The other Holiday Windows have a Lady Gaga theme.
Bergdorf Goodman is on 5th Avenue between 57th Street and 58th Street. Bergdorf has nice, showy windows again. They definitely class it up using an animal theme “Carnival of the Animals”. It is one of the most stylish and best windows for adults though not as kid-fun.
ROCKEFELLER CENTER TREE
For 2011, they once again brought out a BIG tree. This is the must-do Christmas activity since it is one of the most well known and largest Christmas trees in New York City. You can overlook the Rockefeller Center skating rink for a great view of both. Though the lines can be long, you can even ice skate there! Otherwise, you can try other ice skating rinks. See our recommended rinks here: New York Christmas 2011 Activities. Expect to see large crowds of tourists for this worthwhile sight.
Take a look at the view from Top of the Rock while you are here: Info on Top of the Rock Observation Deck
SAKS FIFTH AVENUE
Saks is obviously on Fifth Avenue between 49th Street and 50th Street. Right across the street from the Lincoln Center tree, you get both an interesting projector light show along with their holiday windows. They project the show on the face of the building on the 5th Avenue side. Someone there likes bubbles as it is the theme again this year.
They have stylish windows though different than Bergdorf’s styling. They have some great clothing and presentation. Beautiful.
LORD & TAYLOR
Lord & Taylor is on 5th Avenue between 38th Street and 39th Street. After having a strong showing last year, Lord & Taylor was a bit of a let down though the theme is great. They created windows inspired by children’s drawings. They are nice as well, but it didn’t have the same wow factor of last year. It’s worth a visit though as you can see.
Macy’s on 34th Street and 6th Avenue has the most improved windows. After very slow rotating windows, they come up with many amazing scenes and interactive activities. They may even win the very best! Stay tuned until we complete our reviews.
There is a two-sided theme as always with the 6th Avenue side being the most interesting as always, but with some scenes on 34th Street as well. They are sponsors for the Make-A-Wish Foundation with an emphasis on ornaments. So what’s so special? There is a 3-D TV that doesn’t require glasses creating a cool effect watching a rocket ride (though temper your expectations). The windows are dynamic and beautiful with a lot of white colors. There is also an interactive station to design an ornament.
The 34th Street side is so-so but features a TV character from a CBS Special, Yes, Virginia.
Dress warmly, wear comfortable shoes, and get ready for some fun windows. Definitely stop by Rockefeller Center, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks and Macys for some of the best this year! For best family fun, our winner is Macy’s. For most stylish and interesting for adults, we like Bergdorf Goodman.