Macy’s Christmas Windows (Part 1)

I couldn’t cover Christmas in NYC without mentioning Macys and their famous windows.  I’ve seen them twice over the past week or so.  In fact, the first time I went was during a bright, sunny day. I took lots of pictures and…they were horrible.  The reflections were so bright that it was hard to distinguish the contents of the window.

So, I decided I had to go at night and catch the windows with the backlighting.  And I’m so glad I did.  I knew the rush hour crowds would be huge and unweildy, but it was nicer than most of the places.

Here’s the front of Macy’s:

20071220-macys-03.jpg

Toward the bottom are the awnings over the various windows.  The next picture gives a little bit of an idea of the crowds.

20071220-macys-04.jpg

It was an evening rush hour on a Thursday with everyone headed toward Penn Station and/or the subway stops nearby.  But the windows were popular.

The windows are really in three parts.

First, you have some sales windows with clothing and the like.  They are mostly on the south side of Macy’s.  I’m not going to show them here.

The second type of window is a Santa-theme.  In this case, it’s entitled “Santa’s Big Night.”  I’ve seen these for a few years, and each time they seem to have become more elaborate.  Last year (or was it the year before?), they had window activated controls where you would press on the window and something would happen.  This year, they had continuous movement with some being very elaborate and cool.  It also had some TV component to it  starring Willard Scott.  (That’s him on the screen on the upper right.)

20071220-macys-window-02-santa-and-willard-scott.jpg

In the above, Mrs. Claus is rocking and Santa is pivoting.  The elf dolls are a little spooky, though.

Next, I’ve got three pictures of the same window.  It was wild.  First, this is how I saw it.

20071220-macys-window-03-santa-eye-view-whirling-display.jpg

I call it a “Santa eye view” perspective.  You (Santa) are high up in the air looking down.  Suddenly, the whole display spun!

20071220-macys-window-03-santa-eye-view-during-whirl.jpg

It took me a couple of times and the above was the best picture I got of it.  It was just too fast for my camera and me not using the flash.

And the same window a moment later:

20071220-macys-window-04-santa-eye-view-end-of-whirl.jpg

Another Santa-eye-view of the world.  This one was cool.  It really had a great perspective.  Although it is nice and horizontal looking through the Macy’s window, you do get a bit of a feel that you’re very high up and looking down on a skating rink (you can see Willard on the “jumbo-tron” on the right side representing Times Square and you can see a Christmas tree light representing Macy’s on the left).

20071220-macys-window-03-santa-eye-view.jpg

The next windows took that Santa-eye-view and went a bit further up.  That is, into space.

20071220-macys-window-06-outer-space.jpg

And then another window dispensed with that Santa-eye-view and pictured Santa and all on a small roller coaster and how characters representing Jack Frost and the North Wind (I’m guessing here) watch on.

20071220-macys-window-07-blue-winds-and-roller-coaster.jpg

The colors were wonderful.

The final window for tonight was a more kitschy “Santa keeping track of the naughty and nice via computer” sort of look.

20071220-macys-window-08-santas-big-night-computer.jpg

All in all, very imaginative on the part of the designers.  Willard showed up in a number of these windows, but I don’t think he was in either of my two favorites:  the whirling one and the blue one.  Neither seemed to have a spot for the TV in the corner which was where Willard would show up in the others.  He was in my third favorite (the skating rink from high above), though.

The only thing I can think of is that there were a couple of teams doing these and they had separate agendas.  Or…they ran out of “Santa eye view” ideas.  If that’s true, I don’t wanna know.  I just liked the mix as it seemed to appeal to a different group of viewers.

Tomorrow, the last set of windows.  I’m not telling their secret…yet.

-H

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