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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Christmas Window Tour 2020

 Our annual Christmas Eve tour of holiday windows was an on-again, off-again expedition as we faced a weather report of 40-50 mph winds and much rain, but we set off to see if we could beat the bad weather.  As might be expected in this pandemic year, a lot of stores did not decorate for Christmas (partly because they seem to have decided that this was a good time to renovate).  Also, no surprise that there were few people on the streets until you went to take a photo of something.

We started at the Plaza Hotel (with Barney's having closed), which has erected scaffolding for work on its facade but put up wreaths in the windows.  The fountain in front of the Plaza, however, was decorated with a fun scene of oversized ornaments.

The Plaza

Fountain in front of The Plaza

Next was Bergdorf's, which did something different this year.  While they did have a few fashion windows, most of the decoration was sparkly, oversized letters spelling out different positive words.

Don liked the martini purse

The 1970s are back


Did I mention the 70s are back?

My friend Judith would have loved the eye

This is one of the windows with letters that spell PEACE

The Fifth Avenue Association hired a company to install 10 oversized, lighted "toys" along 5th Avenue to brighten the season; each toy had a code that you could scan to read a story about the display.  The first one we saw was the toy box.

The next was a taxi.  We had waited to take a photo of this one until the Chinese family was done photographing their daughter but she had no intention of leaving the taxi that was just her size; so I took her photo as well.

Tiffany's is doing so much renovation that the store is actually closed and the windows are boarded up; so no Christmas windows on the Avenue.  We walked down the side street to the temporary entrance and found 2 half-hearted efforts.

We noticed that Dior was decorated, so we wandered across the street to check it out.

Remember what I said about the 70s?

Chanel had an interesting window.

I was so excited to find more bunnies that I forgot to notice what store window they in.

As in past Christmases, Trump Tower was just a big, barricaded, black hole among the festive lights. 

Trump Tower with its round-the-clock cops

Don liked the giant stuffed moose at Abercrombie and Fitch.

The balloon toy.

Coach did strings of lights on their second story.

The bear toy was very popular with people who thought it was fun to sit on its legs to have their photo taken.  It was so popular that I didn't have time to frame a good shot of it before the next tourists were trying to break its framework legs.

Cartier had new panthers this year.

Then we were at Rockefeller Center, where access to the tree was severely limited.  Everyone was crowded by the one viewpoint so it was hard to get a good photo but Don did pretty well.  It started raining while we were looking at the tree but we were prepared with umbrellas and hoods.  We had decided to call it a night after we looked at Saks' windows but it stopped raining while we were there, so we kept going.

Saks was next and their theme was This is How We Celebrate and each window was a representation of how people mark occasions. 


This fashion window was just interesting.

Next on our walk was a stuffed beagle or hound in the window of a souvenir store that caught my eye.  

The wind picked up to the point that it was a bit difficult to walk but we were so close to finishing that we pushed on.  Next were the lions in front of the New York Public Library.  Fortitude was wearing a mask, although it had slipped down off his nose.  Fortitude had lost his mask because people keep stealing them off the 2 lions for souvenirs.



Macy's honored essential workers with a theme of  Give, Love, Believe.

That was it for this year: a smaller display but New York is still celebrating the holidays.  May next year be better for all of us.  Happy New Year.



Thursday, October 22, 2020

Beaded Square Project

     Isn't 2020 living up to that Chinese curse of living in interesting times!  Back in the Spring, the staff of the Museum of Beadwork in Portland, Maine announced that they were organizing a group project " which grows out of a desire to commune on a joint project while safely sheltering; marking this very particular time we are going through together, apart."  

     The parameters of a submission were that it had to be mounted on a rigid 6-inch by 6-inch square, needed to be at least 50% beads, and should employ jewel-tone colors.  Given everything else that was going on while avoiding COVID-19 in New York City, I passed on participating but then the project organizers extended the deadline to March 19th, 2020.  With more time, I had an idea.  I added a restriction of "make do," which is something we had to practice while it was dangerous to go outside and stores were closed or facing shortages.  In this case, it meant I couldn't order anything new, but who of us can't do a whole project from their stash?

     My contribution to the Beaded Square Project was based on my memory of life in the first major hotspot of the nation here in New York City.  I started with the 3 bead crochet hearts and then had to figure out the rest of the square.  My idea for the background was originally much darker but the square had other ideas as it told me what it needed to be to set off the bead crochet hearts.

     Here is my finished square entitled "Hearts in the Time of Coronavirus."  The required 2-sentence statement is " New York hearts: scared, faltering, stilled forever, broken, hopeful, battered but still beating, and eternally grateful to all those who stayed home, wore the damn mask, helped their neighbors, and went to work knowing the danger. We are all New York Tough, Smart, United, Disciplined, and Loving."

Side view of bead crochet hearts

     The project is open to beaders outside of the U.S.A., as well, so here is the link to the project information if you are interested in participating Beaded Square Project.  There is also a Facebook group to share ideas and ask questions: Facebook Group.  Perhaps I will see a square from you in the coming months.



Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 Christmas Windows Tour

     This year's tour was a bit sad because many stores are gone: Barney's is going out of business, Lord & Taylor is gone, Henri Bendel's is gone, as well as 4 other stores.  We keep hearing about how well the economy is doing but you couldn't prove it by 5th Avenue.  Many of the remaining stores didn't bother to decorate so the usual tour was much shorter.
     We started at Bergdorf's but their windows weren't as good as in past years.  This was the best of the lot.

The fur nutcracker amused the crowd.

     Tiffany's did a cute series of windows involving mice.

Gucci went tropical.

Dolce and Gabbana went foodie.

The windows of the former Henri Bendel's showed the work of the 5th Avenue Business Improvement District as they hired local artists to make street scenes to fill the empty windows.

The Peninsula Hotel had new decorations, although we aren't sure what they are; the figures look like stylized bellhops playing instruments.

Cartier did their usual wrapped building with panthers.

The Rockefeller Center tree.

Saks did a Frozen 2 theme.

One of the buildings rented window to 4 businesses who decorated 1 window each to publicize their companies; these windows were some of the best decorations.

Hazel Village made a fabric lanscape
Raw Honey

A chocolatier

Either Patience or Fortitude in from the New York Public Library.  It was actually so dark that I didn't have much hope of getting a photo but my new phone came through like a champ.

It was sad to see that this is what the street level of Lord & Taylor looks like as some company ripped out the bottom floor to redo it.  Since We Work is in such financial trouble, I am not sure who is doing the construction.

Macy's was doing a story about a girl who wants to be Santa Clause and so becomes Santa Girl.  Couldn't quite follow the story but the windows were kind of fun.

That was it, so we went home.  I hope you have enjoyed this years abbreviated tour; let's hope next year is more festive.