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With the temperatures dropping and the flurries starting to appear, the holiday time has arrived in New York City. One of the few free attractions you can find in the city this holiday season, is the decorated department store windows.
Sak’s 5th Avenue, located at 5th ave and 49th st, is becoming one of the most highly anticipated things to see in Manhattan during the month of December. This year’s theme is the “Land of 1000 Delights”: a magical landscape of fashion and colorful candy, with jumbo swirl lollipops and mountains of rock candy. The Saks’ windows also have a display of the Nutcracker, showing the classic story of Clara, the Nutcracker and the Mouse King depicted in a treat filled wonderland. When checking out the windows, make sure to stick around for the multicolored ten-story tall light show on the front of the building. The light show plays daily from 5 to 11pm every ten minutes, make sure to catch it before it disappears on January 2nd.
The Macy’s on 34th Street at Herald Square, has had a long running tradition with its “Believe” Santa Display. The Macy’s windows have been revamped this year and feature tons of new technology. In the display, you will find St. Nick and his computer-savvy elves busy matching children to presents. Pedestrians can also press their hand against the window and see how they rate on the “naughty or nice” meter. Plus, there is even an interactive pinball machine that anyone on the street can play.
For a less traditional holiday experience, Barneys, located at 660 Madison Ave, is the place to go. This year, the brand has put together the Love Peace Joy Project. Several artists took part in designing the quirky windows, including “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The windows feature everything from giant colorful cartoons to a “Yellow Submarine”-like “Love Boat” featuring kissing couples, both gay and straight. Plus, if you take a picture of yourself making either a heart or peace sign with your hands, or jumping for joy in front of the displays and post the pictures using the hashtag #LovePeaceJoyProject, Barneys New York Foundation will donate $5 per photo to a wide range of charities.
Speaking of charities, Bloomingdale’s “See the Light” display is tied to the nonprofit, Child Mind Institute. Bloomingdale’s, on Lexington Avenue at 59th Street, has partnered with a group of visual artists to create chandeliers which embody their artistic definition of the word “light.” There are eight chandeliers in total and each is being auctioned off after Christmas, with all of the proceeds going to the Child Mind Institute, which is dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. Also, feel free to grab a free glow stick, as boxes are located next to every window in this display.
Other intriguing windows can be found at Lord and Taylor, with their Enchanted Forest display, showcasing animals in the snowy forest and at Bergdorf Goodman, which is themed Destination Extraordinary and features fashion mixed with the jungle.
Don’t worry if you can’t make it into the city to see the winter windows because Google is offering a virtual reality tour of 18 of New York’s most popular holiday window displays. The virtual tour can be found at Windowwonderland.withgoogle.com.