Where Art and Commerce Collide

I love the holidays for purely secular reasons. I embrace the music, crowds, decorations, food, gatherings—pretty much everything that is outwardly disparaged in New York City. I’m like one of those Lindt chocolate truffles—I have a soft center.

The the holiday windows at Bergdorf Goodman are a treat. They’re no joke. They’re designed by artisans who take their work seriously. Every year there’s a theme and this year it’s the arts. Some of these are the best displays I’ve ever seen. Here’s a couple examples. If you reading this in the city and you don’t make the effort to see these you’re missing out. These pics don’t do them justice. And go at nighttime.

This window represents music. Nice art deco frame. They all have that.

music1

She’s surrounded by silver horns. Big ones. Little ones. Nice dress, too.

music2

This is dance. She slowly rotates on that gear. She’s delicate. The gears are not. A nice juxtaposition.

dance1

I love how she’s lit and the angle of her head. It accentuates her long neck.

dance2

This is architecture. The best of the bunch. I stood in front for a long time. There’s a lot to absorb. The window is crammed with representations of NYC landmark skyscrapers.

arch3

In the upper right corner, out of the shot above, is a gargoyle perched on a pedestal.

arch1

He’s made by a paper sculpture.

arch2

This represents theater. The neon lights are sequenced making a slow reveal from bottom to top.

theater1

I like that her dress is translucent. You can see the lights between her legs.

theater2

The day after I visited these, The New York Times Style section posted a short video on the making of the architecture window. It’s pretty interesting stuff.

Not to be outdone, the porn store on 8th Avenue across the street from my office also decorated their window. It’s kind of a lazy affair. I wonder if “Santa Sack” is suppose to be a double entendre? Pretty poor, if it is.

blue


I picked up my iPhone 6 on Saturday. It’s a miracle of form, function and design. I’m dizzy with happiness. Just like a maternity ward reveal.

51 thoughts on “Where Art and Commerce Collide

  1. Thank you.:-)
    I’m not going to pick up the “santa sack” euphemism;it’s a porn shop, what did you expect?
    I love you dearly, but now, please go over to Bryant Square and take my annual fix pics,please.

  2. I’ve always wanted to go to New York for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but now I’m wondering if I should shoot for Christmas instead. Would be worth it to see those store displays.

    So you went with the smaller of the two new iPhones, then. I’m a tad jealous. I want one but I can’t justify upgrading at this point. Enjoy!

    • Christmas is way more interesting than Thanksgiving. And it’s actually less crowded. Thanksgiving is compressed into four days. Christmas goes on for about two weeks. I’ve always wanted to see London at Christmas time. Didn’t they invent it?

      I try to be more Zen about material things but I really am gaga over this new phone. It’s a big deal. It’s how I deal with a long, insufferable commute and, in no small measure, how I stay in touch with the outside world.

  3. I still can’t comment in wordpress reader… why does it foresake me so?

    I love new york in the winter… I don’t think I’ve ever been for the Christmas windows. I have lots of free time the next couple of weeks. Hmm….

    • This pisses me off a little bit. I paid someone a lot of cash to set up this site (because I am unable) and to know that it’s not functioning properly sucks. And the most basic of functions! Commenting! Who know how many people don’t bother to comment because of that. Do you know anyone who can crawl in the code and fix this? I need a reference.

      Are you far? Aren’t you up or down the east coast somewhere? Well, New York is open and waiting for you to make up your mind. Bring cash.

      • I do have one person I can ask… perhaps it’s just me that can’t do it?

        And while I don’t say where I am, I will say that I can get to NYC if I really want to 🙂

  4. Thanks for the pictures. It wil have to do for most of us. Nice tip about the difference btween Thanksgiving and Christmas visit. Done the Macy’s parade but the storefronts look a lot more entertaining.

    • Thanksgiving is all about the parade and if the weather sucks, you’re screwed. Plus, it’s all over and done with in one day. The Christmas season is much, much better. There’s more to do indoors and if you get one or two days of inclement weather, you can still have a nice time. Plus, Thanksgiving is one specific neighborhood vs. Christmas, which is a city-wide celebration. No two ways about it; Christmas rules.

      • Whbabat? I think your new phone is displaying artificial intelligence.
        As for pay, I think anytime you are in a commercial/retail environment the pay is going to be better on average than for “pure” art. Or do the retailers try to pull the old, “We can’t pay much, but, oh, the exposure…!”

      • First of all, I just re-posted all the pics because I was dissatisfied with the quality. My standards never rest. If you do direct your brother here, make sure he clicks on the URL for the Times video of the window design and execution. He’ll probably have a deeper appreciation than any of us.

  5. I get the impression you New Yorkers like your women somewhat on the slender side. The skyscraper display is a feast for the eyes, but I can’t see the expression on the face of the blue-haired lady. Is she looking at the gargoyle?

    • Anyone weighing more than what you see here is considered “plus size.”

      It’s funny you would mention her gaze. From one angle it appears she looking directly up at him but, in fact, she’s looking off to the side. I wonder if that was intentional? It’s clever. That window is BUSY. There’s a lot going on there. It takes a minute or two to absorb it all.

  6. Wow, these are gorgeous, Mark. I wish I could see them up close. Another benefit of living in the city. I’m a little jealous. I favor the dance one since I’m a dancer. I still call myself one even though I haven’t taken class in awhile. I can see how there might be lots of details here to savor. Cool stuff! Thanks for sharing.

    Congrats on the new phone! I guess it’s worth the upgrade then.

    • If you stand in front of them they really wash over you and swallow you up. You completely forget you’re on the busiest corner of 5th Avenue. Don’t be jealous. I only show you the positive side. There’s much to disparage but that’s not my blog. Plenty of others filling that role.

  7. i’ve seen christmas displays in quite a few cities, here and abroad, but i’ve never experienced christmas in nyc. your photos are the closest i’ve ever come. i really should remedy that! xoxoxoxo

  8. This is good-looking stuff, Mark. Except for the Santa’s Sack crap, for which I held zero expectations anyway. You are lucky to be able to partake in this seasonal artistry.

    And FYI, I told you the plain 6 was going to do it for you, didn’t I?

    • The Times video of the planning and execution of the Bergdorf window is pretty interesting. I’ll bet there’s no equivalent video of the window in the porn shop. It doesn’t look like they put much thought into it.

      It’s indecent for me to love a machine as much as I love my new phone. Hope it wears off soon and I’m back to normal.

      • I LOVE sparkly objects. When I was a kid my dad used to dump me in the lighting section when he dragged me to DIY stores, because he knew I’d stay there gazing quietly at the chandeliers.

        And I would happily wear any of those dresses around my flat and admire myself for hours on end. Money well spent.

      • I dated a girl who got together with her girlfriends every year to watch the Academy Awards. The rule was you had to wear the ugliest bridesmaid dress in your closet and get roaring drunk. Don’t know what that has to do with this post but there you go.

  9. A lot of work has gone in those windows. Nice. You can be shot on the spot here for saying ‘the holidays’ instead of Christmas! True. We have a real live Texan staying with us until 27th December. He arrived today (friend of one of the daughters), poor kid is having a hard time with our accents and our fast talking, and my constant swearing at kitchen paraphernalia.

    I got my first ‘holiday’ card today. You are one handsome family. 😉

    • According to the accompanying video, it takes all year to plan those windows. I’m not sure I believe that. Maybe it’s just puffery. But I like the results.

      Never mind your accent…do you understand him?!

      Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thanks tons for the card. Very thoughtful.

  10. That’s not actually a gargoyle, it’s a grotesque. A gargoyle is a down spout for getting rid of rainwater ( or hot oil ) whereas a grotesque is purely decorative. I just knew all those years watching QI ( quite Interesting ) would pay off sooner or later.

    • Are you pulling my leg or is that true? I can’t tell if this is a gullibility check. It looks like a gargoyle to me. He vaguely resembles some people who work in my office. I don’t know QI. I’ll Google it first thing in the morning.

  11. I’m quite amused by the discussion of not being able to post comments, maybe that’s what’s wrong at the lounge, no one can post comments haha… the opulence of the upper echelon’s of NYC art and commerce is both beautiful and grotesque, which in a way makes it distinctly American, i could go on but then this would be a op-ed and not a comment… and i quite like the effort the Blue Room put forth, of course that should drop the “K” from sack, that one for some reason is my favorite photo but we all know how high brow i am, i hope the place still sells whippets, only the finest porn shops do.

    • You wouldn’t think the inability to post comments was so amusing if you were as needy and starved for attention as I am. Maybe I should make a new year’s resolve to not care as much. That’d be a step in the right direction.

      Beautiful and grotesque is the best description in this comment section. Those windows are both. I love the Blue Room window as well. It’s the perfect juxtaposition. It’s anti-glamour, and that’s where I’ve always been more comfortable.

  12. God, i love these! Just burned up my last trip of the year taking Studley to Vegas for his birthday. Next year, we may have to go to NYC – i need to see these windows!

  13. You’re right, those windows are stunning. I would love a window tour of NYC to be honest. I went to Oxford Street to see the Christmas lights and HAD to go by Selfridge’s just to see the windows. I despise window shopping, but adore window hopping. 🙂

      • Ahhh, me too. I came close though. I was there until the end of November, which of course meant I was able to see how London dolls up for Christmas. We even had a bit of snow, though in the city it’s nothing more than slushy roads and icy sidewalks…but I was in the country, a town called Butt’s Green, over Guy Fawkes Day, where the town gathered for a huge bonfire of scout made ephigies, complete with softly falling snow and mulled wine by the bucket. And of course, the walk en mass to the local pub. It was a fabulous time. One I will never forget.

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