The Next Dinosaur: Holiday Windows at Bergdorf's?
Decked out in tinsel, Manhattan is a wondrous place to visit during the holiday season. One of my favorite treats this time of year is the holiday window gawking. The tradition in NYC dates back to the 1870s Victorian era when Macy’s began the practice in an effort to attract shoppers and tourists as loyal customers. Fast forward to the present era and, despite ever more elaborate and alluring holiday displays, the customers aren’t so loyal anymore. They take in the beautiful view, walking by the windows and shopping elsewhere.
Pain never looked as good as it does in NYC in the tumbleweed malls across America.
Neiman Marcus (owners of Bergdorf Goodman) is a perfect example that what's ailing the heart of America looks great on the face of NY. Reportedly up to its eyeballs with 5+ billion in debt, the chain has chalked up big losses against the e-commerce grim reaper and closed dozens of stores in 2017. Prospects for a coming savior have dimmed. Buyout talks between the chain and Hudson Bay were laid to rest in June. Serious rumors of bankruptcy have since loom. Yet, the Bergdorf holiday display this year is more spectacular and animated than ever.
Going down in style as they descend in flames, is this a goodbye love note?
Bergdorf Goodman’s 2017 Holiday Window theme is “To NY with Love” by Mr. Gangon, a salute to half a dozen New York City iconic institutions. Crystal dinosaurs and mannequins salute American Museum of Natural History, flower power explosion salutes New York Botanical Garden and red horns and string instruments hails New York Philharmonic. The Palm Court across the street offers tea to warm up in style and for a cup of jo I usually go to The Plaza food court.
Nearby Barney’s windows will delight you. Check out this awesome behind the scenes video of the making of the windows. Wonderfully whimsical with amoeba shapes, magical mushrooms and a sparkly pony. I always pick up some Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland off Madison nearby as a TBD hostess gift when I’m there.
If you are feeling sporty, up for a winter walking tour, then the runner up windows are at Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue. Maybe you’ll find your way past one of them on your way home from a Holiday Bazaar, places where the people are.
Are the holiday windows losing to the competition?
Competition for the Christmas spirits of tourists and consumers is fierce. Holiday Bazaars are mushrooming across the city, luring winter cheer seekers to more than just a pretty view. In addition to something different for everyone on your list- whether you’re looking for clothing, jewelry, toys or some one-of-a-kind craft- Holiday Bazaars offer more of what consumers want from their shopping experience... fun!
People living in New York City have a greater need for public spaces. Holiday markets offer a repeat destination in which to socialize and congregate. One that is certainly more inviting. There is something about hanging around isles in a department store, slowly sipping hot cider and eating your lunch, that alerts the attention of security guards.
There is still time to enjoy the Brant Park Winter Village where more than 150 custom-designed glass kiosks, with an indoor and outdoor appeal, line Bryant Park during the holiday season. In the center of the park is a rink where you can rent skates and ice-skate for free.
Grand Central Holiday Fair- indoor Grand Central Holiday Fair offers a warm alternative to outdoor markets. Vanderbilt Hall hosts over 40 vendors who specialize in American-made, hand-crafted products, use locally sourced goods and are socially responsible.
Union Square Holiday Market hosts more than 100 local and national vendors under red-and-white tents selling everything from leather goods to artisanal olive oil to skin care products. I love the hot chocolate, cider, warming station, kids’ crafts studio and live music.
Columbus Circle Holiday Market in addition to carriage rides there are about 100 vendors. Next year, you might want to check out Holiday Handmade Cavalcade off Broadway and Great Jones Street in the heart of Noho where an exponentially increasing number of small, artisanal fairs in practically every neighborhood starting in late-November.
As if the competition from e-commerce sales wasn't enough, there are more local options now than ever. On your way to a Holiday Bazaar, Manhattan Minds hopes you won't leave all the old traditions out in the cold. If only for charity sake, buy a present from a big department store. Without our support, there is dim promise of future Christmases for these stores and their glorious holiday windows, along with their doors, may be shuttered. Wouldn't that be a bah humbug bummer?
If you visit the winter windows of the department stores, will you go in and shop? Manhattan Minds wants to know! FOLLOW and JOIN the conversation on social media: @ManhattanMinds on Instagram, Pinterest , Facebook , LinkedIn and @Manhattan_Minds on Twitter.
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Author: Mona Maine de Biran
Manhattan Minds is an inspired blog on New York City Art, Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle. You are invited to share your comments on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit, StumbleUpon and LinkedIn and a link to this article using the easy icons below.
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Photo Credit: Tiffany Sage/BFA