Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 NYC Holiday Show Windows

Christmas time in New York City is like no other .. the sights, the sounds, and then there are the holiday show windows. Each year is different and the stores' creative staff really make each year's decorations even better than the ones before.


The holiday windows of Macy's along 34th Street depict the story of Virginia O'Hanlon who wrote a letter to the editor of New York's The Sun:
"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


And we all know what the reply of the editor of The Sun was ..
"Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence."
On the Broadway side of the store are the main show windows. This year's theme is about The Magic of Christmas. The first show window is about New York City, a magical city where marvels unfold. Some of the iconic New York symbols are seen on the window, like the Men at Lunch, the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge. Fashion from the 70's to the 90's are also shown on a rotating basis.

The second show window features the iconic wooden escalators of the Macy's 34th Street flagship store.

The third show window shows some of the shows/events during the season that you can see around the city, like the Rockettes of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, as well as skating in Central Park.

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade balloons are featured on the next show window. The new balloon Rex the Happy Dragon is poking its head behind Harold the Fireman.

"Hope is magical" is the message of the next show window which shows the wishes of the children on what they want to be when they grow up.

The last show window features several television screens showing past Thanksgiving Day parades as well as other places around the city. At the corner of the show window is this message ..

Lord & Taylor

Lord & Taylor was the first retailer to present animated holiday windows and this year is the store's 75th annual holiday window.
"The annual holiday windows are our gift to New York City and I'm excited to share this special experience with our customers," said Bonnie Brooks, President of Hudson's Bay Company. "This year's windows celebrate special holiday traditions from around the world."
The corner show window shows a modern day Santa's workshop, where the window features a rotating globe as a backdrop, and Santa planning his trip, surrounded by books full of children's wishes to be fulfilled.

The next show window shows snow-covered mountains, and a town marketplace selling traditional holiday figures such as miniature nutcrackers and animated gingerbread men.

The next stop on Santa's journey is New York City, featuring the Central Park Zoo. I tried to get a pic of the seals at the back but they were moving too fast for my phone cam but the Delacorte Clock is prominently featured.

The next show window features a traditional clock tower and an intimate celebration with friends and family in a furnished loft with a rotating clock.

The final show window brings Santa to Asia, and this window is illustrated by vibrant red lanterns and a scenic snow-covered bridge, highlighting the tradition in which the lanterns are released for good fortune and luck.


The show windows of Bloomingdale's showcase animated acrobats in celebration of the upcoming 3D movie, Cirque Du Soleil Worlds Away, which opens on Friday, December 21.

Here's a collage of the rest of the windows ..

At the other side of the store's doors are interactive windows where you peek into a porthole and your photo is snapped in a cartoon holiday scene. The pics are then displayed on Bloomingdale's Facebook page. It was fun!

Tiffany & Co.

The holiday show windows of Tiffany & Co features the front door and several rooms of a swanky NYC townhouse decked for Christmas. In the collage I made you can easily see the tiffany blue box featured on some of the windows.

Bergdorf Goodman

Like Tiffany & Co, Bergdorf Goodman is also along Fifth Avenue. The store's holiday show windows always attract a crowd as they are unique and eye-catching.
Called The BG Follies of 2012, the windows were inspired by entertainments such as the Ziegfeld Follies, Vaudeville revues and Busby Berkeley’s Hollywood musicals of the 1930s.  They’re a miniature revival of classic Art Deco style, touching upon the fantasy shows of the time — the solo act, the duo, group performance, novelty act (starring daredevil dogs) and more.
Here's one of the show windows,  a black and white homage to Marilyn Monroe in Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot.

The site I linked above have great pics of the show windows. Here's another collage I made, this time the Bergdorf Goodman windows.


Barney's 2012 holiday show windows has the theme “Electric Holiday,” showing a short animated film that follows Minnie Mouse as she longingly window shops at Barneys, only to find herself eventually walking the runway along with some of her best cartoon friends.

A scene from the film.

I tried to take a vid but people were constantly passing by so my video is not that good. Here's the official vid from Barney's, try to look for Goofy, I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Sak's Fifth Avenue

This year's holiday show windows for Sak's feature the making of snowflakes.  The first show window features several snow globes and I think the child mannequin was asking how snow flakes came to be.

The next windows show some scenes about the snowflakes' origins.

As has been the tradition since 2005, Sak's Fifth Avenue has a light show on the entire facade of the building. This year the two-minute show, which runs from 5 to 10 pm until January 7, 2013, is complemented with a shaggy, bigfoot-like character called Yeti within wintry scenes in windows involving flurries, snowfalls and mini versions of the abominable snowman. Here's the official video, enjoy!

For the rest of my 2012 Holiday Show Window pics, here's the album on Flickr - NYC 2012 Holiday Show Windows

For Christmas trees and holiday lights around NYC, here's a separate album on Flickr  - Holiday Lights in NYC

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Inside The Lion King

Last Saturday I was at the “Inside the Lion King” exhibit along 42nd Street in front of Bryant Park. The exhibit celebrates the 15th anniversary of the premiere of The Lion King on Broadway and can be seen from December 1-16 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. 

From the Broadway Tour website:
A new exhibit called “Inside the Lion King” is available for free for the first half of December in New York City, and offers visitors an immersive, inside look at the famed Broadway musical.
The exhibit is located on 42nd Street and Avenue of the Americas adjacent to Bryant Park, and features 86 museum quality artifacts. These include hand-made puppets, artisan costumes and sculpted masks, as well as sets from various “Lion King” productions from around the world.

Near the entrance to the exhibit is this tableau below. There is a figure of a cheetah and a contraption attached to a dummy of the performer. Staff members of the exhibit explained to us how it works during a performance.

At the back are masks of the lionesses, as well as costumes used in the play. The clothes are dyed but the accessories, like the beads and shells all came from Africa.

The masks, which was a collaboration between the play director Julie Traymor and Michael Curry, are made from a material called carbon graphite. Here's a close up of the lioness' mask.

Near the cheetah is the full costume and mask of Sarabi, Simba's mother.

Nearby are more animals - gazelles, zebra, bird and elephant. 

The zebra is made from a mesh-like material.

Look closely at the dress of the bird, it looks to me like it resembles something that's flying.

The four performers are inside each of the elephant's foot, moving the contraption inside so it could walk across the stage.

When we first entered the exhibit, it was requested that we shouldn't touch the items as after the exhibit these will be sent to Australia where The Lion King will be doing a show soon. When we reached the wildebeest masks, however, we were told it was okay to touch and feel the material. Carbon graphite looks and feels like wood but is very light weight. The heaviest mask is that of Mufasa and it weights just 11 ounces.

A life size model of Rafiki is one of the attractions of the exhibit.  

 The towering and colorful giraffes grab your attention, too.

And let us not forget Zazu, as well as the ostriches behind him. According to the exhibit staff, Zazu is one of the most difficult characters in the play as it is hand operated so it could move and be attune with the actor's words and expressions.

The ostriches have these notches on their backs so that the young Simba and Nala could climb and sit on their backs in one of the scenes in the play.

Rounding up the characters on exhibit are the hyenas and the villain Scar.

Here's a closer look of Scar.

The exhibit also features the scale models of the puppets. Here's a collage I made ..

It also showed some of the drawings of the costume designs of Julie Traymor.

As well as sketches and pictures to be used to bring the animals alive in the play.  There are also scale models of the different scenes in the play. This one's in the forest featuring Pumbaa and Timon.

There were also The Lion King merchandise like these stuffed toys for sale.

The 16-day exhibit is in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the play's premiere in Broadway.  For those in the area, try to catch it, you'll be delighted and learn something in the process. The play is really the pride of New York!

Sharing this great vid from the show's website ..

For the rest of my Inside the Lion King pics, here's the album on Flickr.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Nostalgia Train

Last Sunday I went on a special subway ride, I was on MTA's Holiday Nostalgia Train! The Holiday Nostalgia Train is made up of subway cars in service from 1932 until 1977.

From the MTA website ..
The Holiday Train will run starting this Sunday and will run on all Sundays between Thanksgiving and New Year’s (Nov. 25,  December 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30).
The first trip starts out of Second Avenue at 10:01 a.m. with the last trip leaving Queens Plaza at  4:44 p.m. making all M Subway Line Symbol line stops in between.  The complete schedule as follows:
Leaving 2nd Ave.
Leaving Queens Plaza

It was really a special trip! There was nothing digital back then so all the signs were still in printed form.

Ceiling fans, padded seats and incandescent light bulbs were state-of-the-art when these cars were first placed in service.

A close up of the ceiling fans, as well as the straps used by the straphangers back then.

The doors between the cars were open so those who ride the Nostalgia Train can walk in between cars from end to end.

Unlike today's subway cars, there was no special space for the conductor.  He had to stand in between cars and shout "All aboard!"

There were also old subway maps ..

.. as well as notices posted on the cars.

The fire extinguisher on the train was also very visible.

Like today's subway cars, the Nostalgia train was full of posters and advertisements. It was a fun time reading the advertisements from years past and remembering how things used to be.

Some of the subway posters were very funny!

There was also a Subway Reader series, posters detailing some facts about the subway system.

And let's not forget the Miss Subways ..

After arriving at the Queens Plaza station, all passengers were required to leave the Nostalgia Train. I still haven't had my fill of the train so I crossed over to the opposite track to wait for the next trip back to Manhattan from Queens Plaza.

One advantage of this was I got to see and enjoy the subway art at the station, Look Up Not Down by Ellen Harvey
It consists of various walls on the mezzanine that have been tiled to show what the skyline from street level looks like. Most of the walls are sky blue tile but lining the bottom of them is mosaic that looks like various buildings. The Midtown skyline is visible, nice and small. The biggest building is the Citigroup, the tallest in Queens not all that far from the subway station. Most of the roofs though look like warehouses.
You can see the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building from Queens, as depicted on this tile mosaic.

As well as the imposing red and white smoke stacks of Big Allis.

That was really a fun ride! Lots of things to see and if you just want to sit back and relax on those padded seats, you can do it, too.

The Nostalgia Train runs only every Sunday from after Thanksgiving to the end of the year. Try to catch a ride!

For the rest of my pics on the Holiday Nostalgia Train, here's the set on Flickr.