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NYC Holiday Window Displays: Yesterday and Today

December 12th, 2018 | The Jetset Life

One of the quintessential holiday traditions in New York is to walk along Fifth Avenue to admire the window displays. Although you may think that this is reserved mostly for tourists, 2018 is a different year for a few reasons. Do you want to know more? The Royalton New York has the scoop.

Brief History

It all started back in the late 19th Century with the one and only, Macy’s. In 1874, Macy’s owner,  R.H. Macy, decided to set up a festive window display of porcelain dolls for the holiday season — the busiest time of year. This was made possible by the mass production of plate-glass, a new and inexpensive material. As a result, a successful department store like Macy’s could afford to build massive storefront windows to draw in customers.

The popularity of Macy’s annual window display spread like wildfire. By the early 20th Century almost every large department store had followed suit, turning the tradition into an annual competition. As technology changed, so did the stakes. Creativity, artistry and a wow-factor became essential to any display.

royalton-history-holiday-window-displays-new-york-saksHoliday Window Displays Today

Nowadays, the tradition that began over 100 years ago has escalated into a world-famous event. Each year, New York’s most famous and luxurious stores — mostly located in Midtown — spend months planning, designing and preparing the year’s theme.

Earlier we mentioned that this year would be a little different. Well, two stores that have participated in this annual tradition for years are closing their doors for good. Henri Bledel stores all over the country are closing permanently. Lord & Taylor will close its flagship store on Fifth Avenue to be replaced by a WeWork branch. So, don’t miss your chance to see these two stores in all their full festive glory for the last time.

And now — drum roll, please — here are the best holiday window displays in New York.

Barneys New York

Location: 660 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10065
2018 Theme: Make Change and Change Matters

Bergdorf Goodman

Location: 754 5th Avenue and New York, NY 10019
2018 Theme: Candy Cane Lane


Location: 1000 Third Avenue at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022
2018 Theme: Dr. Seuss The Grinch

Henri Bendel

Location: 712 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10019
2018 Theme: In their last window display, they are featuring a snowy New York landscape and work by fashion illustrator Izak Zenou

Lord & Taylor

Location: 424 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018
2018 Theme: Since it’s their last window display, they don’t have a specific theme but do pay tribute to New York and the store’s legacy.

Macy's Herald Square

Location: 151 W 34th Street, New York, NY 10001
2018 Theme: Believe in the Wonder of Giving

Saks Fifth Avenue

Location: 611 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10022
2018 Theme: Theater of Dreams

Tiffany & Co.

Location: 727 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10022
2018 Theme: Believe in Dreams

All locations are near Royalton New York. Stop by for a drink at Bar 44 to warm up when you’re done snapping photos.