Saks Fifth Avenue
Saks’ seasonal showcase, always among the City’s brightest, delivers twinkling depictions of “only in New York” moments. This year’s display, called “This Is How We Celebrate,” comprises six colorfully intricate scenes, including presents being delivered via the Roosevelt Island tram and locals stringing Christmas lights in Dyker Heights.
Saks Fifth Avenue (cont.)
In this window, a food truck serves international cuisine to block-party revelers while silhouettes allude to a festive gathering in the background (with masks and social distancing guidelines observed, of course). And there’s more than just windows: throughout the month, the retailer hosts lighting events led by different celebrities and public figures to raise money for charitable causes.
The Fifth Avenue fashion giant is known for putting on bold and eye-catching displays, the kind that in normal years cause crowds to cluster. The 2020 display, titled “Bergdorf Goodness,” reflects on moments of kindness and unity that have carried us through these unusual times—and its visuals are straightforward enough to be understood without pressing right up against the glass.
Bergdorf Goodman (cont.)
“Love” is just one of the blocky words constructed out of three-dimensional polychromatic acrylic mirrors. Other windows feature similar expressions such as “hope,” “equality” and “harmony.” Putting those sentiments into action, Bergdorf will donate a portion of sales to the Goodness Giving Fund, which benefits City Harvest and the National CARES Mentoring Movement. The organizations work to combat food insecurity and social and educational inequality disproportionately affecting young Black people.
This year, the windows of Bloomingdale’s light up Lexington Avenue in a range of neon. The retailer’s “Give Happy” theme offers the kind of fantastical escape that New Yorkers (and others) are likely yearning for by now, with detailed displays of adorable animals and holiday imagery that primarily focus on one color per setting.
Hudson Yards does not hold back when it comes to spreading good cheer. Though a bit different than your typical window display, the buzzy shopping and dining center deserves a shoutout for its festive decor, part of its “Shine Bright” theme. More than 2 million string lights—that’s 115 miles!—blink throughout the shops, outdoor spaces and structures, including at Vessel and Edge.
New Yorkers’ resiliency—especially that of its essential workers and first responders—has shone brightly this year. Macy’s Herald Square has chosen to honor those front-liners in its annual holiday display, which took more than 100 people (electricians, artists and animators) two weeks to complete.
The “Give, Love, Believe” theme spreads across six animated windows, culminating in a scene with the words “Thank You” shown in 16 languages. The department store, which revealed its first holiday window back in 1874, also dedicated this year’s windows to those who marched for racial equality and those who have braved and endured the pandemic.
Empire State Building
Though “hope” is not used here in quite the same sense that it is in other holiday windows (think more A New Hope), the Empire State Building strikes back with a crowd-pleasing theme for its interior window display: three-dimensional scenes from Star Wars, constructed out of Legos.
Empire State Building (cont.)
Visitors to ESB and building tenants get to admire the sets on their way out of the observatory. The Millennium Falcon (pictured), the Razor Crest (a Mandalorian-era ship) and fan favorite The Child (aka “Baby Yoda”) are among the models set in a snowy LED-lit galaxy. Note that anyone can look up outside the building to see its tower lights illuminated in celebration of the holidays.
For more to see and do in NYC this season, check out our complete Holiday Guide.
Love Is on Display at NYC’s 2020 Holiday Windows
Despite a radically unconventional year, NYC isn’t ready to cast aside tradition when it comes to the holidays. The decked-out seasonal storefronts on Madison and Fifth Avenues remain a wintertime staple, though for 2020, there’s a common—and fitting—thread at big-name retailers: displays focusing on themes of hope and gratitude. Click through our gallery to see the colorful designs and uplifting messages; if you want to check them out in person, note that most remain up until the beginning of the new year.