Dressed in holiday style

The annual holiday window displays are up at Bergdorf Goodman. My route there took me past Trump Tower. What a circus. A woman was protesting out front holding a ‘Not My President’ sign with a big erect penis drawn on it. Vacationing families with little children walked by.

As usual, the displays are a riot of craftsmanship and design. It takes nine months to create these. Here’s a sampling. My pics look a little blurry but if you click on them, they’re sharp.


This year, the theme is the kind of dioramas seen in natural history museums. This window is done in a jungle motif.


Feathered and bejeweled primates are tucked into every corner.



In this window, we find our femme fatale (they all have a femme fatale) surrounded by gigantic insects.


I like how icicles drip from his pincers.


In this window, a tightrope walk over a swamp.



Watching workers below her rearrange the exhibit.




I dug this out of my journal in honor of Miss Saigon‘s return to Broadway this spring.

February 20, 1992

I saw Miss Saigon with Ann Marie last night. I don’t know what all the fuss is about. It’s not very good. I can’t recall one song. They’re all generic and uninteresting. Even the helicopter evacuation scene wasn’t impressive.The comps had a face value of $100, which tells you everything you need to know.

My mind is whirling with this Ann Marie business. Instead of watching the play I mused on how much she likes me. During the penultimate scene, Saigon was being evacuated but all I could do was gauge my interest in Ann Marie vs. my unrequited affection for Mimi.

I was in a bad mood today and called Ann Marie’s office for a quick hello thinking it’d cheer me up but I got her voicemail. I left a message and proceeded to obsess on why I hadn’t heard back from her. Minutes turned into doubt. Did she not get my message? Is not returning my message, in fact, a message? This went on all afternoon. Finally, towards the end of the day when I was ready to crawl out of my skin, she called and apologized for taking so long to get back to me. She’d been with clients all afternoon. We had a few laughs. I’m sick. I need psychological help.

I’m not sure anyone is doing well. Austin’s band isn’t going to make it. Klinger and Mimi aren’t going to be paid actors. I’m surrounded by corporate cogs. Society considers them successful, model citizens but most of them seem pretty miserable to me. I don’t envy them. Ann Marie wants to be a personal trainer. Melissa wants to be an artist. They’re not going to make it. I wonder what keeps them going? They’re better off than I am. At least they have an aspiration. I’m empty inside. Writing workshops and freelance gigs. Who am I kidding? I sit in this apartment in Brooklyn and have no idea where I’ll be in five months, much less five years from now.

The water was out again all weekend so I couldn’t bathe or wash dishes. You take that stuff for granted. I stank so I never went out. I bought a gallon of water at the corner bodega for my morning coffee, to brush my teeth and for the cats. Who pays for bottled water? It’s ridiculous. The building is united in our collective misery.

I’m dead tired. I’ve not gotten an unbroken night of sleep in a while. The cats wait until I’m asleep and then bat my face to let them under the comforter. They’ll wake up in the middle of the night and crawl out to get a bite to eat. Then they wake me up again to let them back under. They fall right to sleep but I’ll lie there wide awake until morning thinking my terrible thoughts. It’s no use shutting them out of the bedroom because they both sit outside the door and howl all night. Fucking cats. I just love them.

Maureen and I have stopped talking altogether. It’s just as well. I like to think of myself as sympathetic and am sorry she’s having a hard time but I can’t fill her void. The conversations are awful. They’re filled with long, uncomfortable silences. She asks me if I’m seeing anyone just to torture herself. I hope to hear from her again one day (no hurry) but am relieved that she went off to the mountaintop to heal.

Ann recently asked about her and since they are friends, I told her it would be a very, very bad idea to mention anything about us going to Mexico together. Maureen will snap out of it sooner or later. We all go through these things and sometimes it takes a while but it always passes. Don’t I know.



Alexander Calder
John Graham
Estimate: $800,000-1,200,000
Price Realized: $2,527,500

Yikes! They really undershot the landing strip on that one. I like Calder but $2M+ is a lot, don’t you think?

58 thoughts on “Dressed in holiday style

    • Those windows really are genuine works of art. And they’re ephemeral. After the holiday season, they’re destroyed and you’ll never see them again. Well worth trodding through the Trump Tower mob scene to see.

      Calder has some wonderful stuff but, yeah, this seems a bit hot for a wire head sculpture. I like the shadow it cast. I made that the center of the pic.

  1. The way you portray yourself as a character, as a real person, is just remarkable. It’s ‘commentable.’ Empty inside, the cats batting you in the face…the understated urban guy-angst of a New Yorker, a midwestern transplant. It’s epic, missed your tales, glad they’re back, bat-bat-bat.

  2. Are you sure that a woman with a picture of a giant penis wasn’t working for Donald Trump? You know, just to prove that Donald Trump has no problem there, as he himself made clear on one of the presidential debates?

  3. High heels on a tightrope. That sounds like the title of some pulp fiction thing!

    I scrolled to the Calder piece and thought how the shadow somehow added to it.I love it! But the price tag? WTF….

      • I’m glad you clarified this, I was trying to work out a method of asking, without upsetting anyone, which of the ladies you married.

        (I had to change the email, Worpress/Google was having some kind of hissyfit

  4. You were such an optimistic young man, what happened? lol, that’s some funny stuff up there, i don’t think i ever thought that long about a woman circa 1992, or maybe ever, not that that’s a good thing but in my wasted youth it was “next up”, oh i’d sit around and be melancholy for a day or two when they left (or never showed) but it wasn’t long before i was back on the hunt… and you know i fucking love the bit about the cats, had me grinning from ear to ear, you should put Fucking Cats. I just love them. on a t-shirt, you ‘d make a mint. Good stuff as usual.

  5. You instantly got me on your side when you revealed you slept with your cats. We cat lovers stick together. It’s a pity your ladies prefer dogs.

    Do you know what became of all these characters from your past – Klinger, Mimi and the rest? I often feel an epilogue is missing from you diary excerpts.

    • I didn’t sleep with my cats. My cats slept with me. I’m lucky the’d have me. I wouldn’t let a dog anywhere near my bed. Filthy animals.

      I have no idea what happened to any of the people in these journals. You have to remember…this was 25 years ago. That’s a lifetime. I can make up an epilogue if you’d like but it wouldn’t be true.

      • Yep my cats sleep with me but I don’t let my dogs in my bedroom. They would need a bath every day in order to be clean enough and that just is not possible to bathe one or more of my favorite dogs. You’re right- they are filthy. 🙂

        I’m just joking but they say to never let the truth get in the way of a good story. I bet an epilogue would be hilarious. You could have some real fun making up stories of how those people are now.

    • The windows are really impressive. They’re so big. Never mind nine months. They could give me nine years and I couldn’t come up with something that creative and visually spectacular.

      I miss having cats. I have friends who send me pictures of their cats. It’ll have to suffice until I can have one again.

      • I’d have to bump off my husband to have a cat. And cats can’t open jars or do the dishes. So no cats for me. I do have a dog, though, who doubles as a vacuum cleaner assassin. We’ve gone through 4 since we got Duncan 2-1/2 years ago.

  6. I should take some pictures of the holiday windows here in the SAV, just I could compare them with yours and be even MORE miserable about living here! Merry fucking Christmas! 🙂 xoxox

  7. At least you had the cats which in my warped mind would help you deal with the girlfriend problem. One of my cats does the same thing. He paws at the covers till I let him in and he stays for a while and then leaves. All cats are too smart.

    • I had those two cats for 14 years. Girls would routinely walk in and out of my life but those cats were always there for me. They could tell when things ended. They look at me with a “not again?” expression on their faces. Then they’d sit in my lap until I felt better.

  8. Really like the wire head, the shadows are a unique end-product.
    Not worth that much though.

    Not sure about the windows, are they animated?
    I loved the Heath-Robinson machines that decorated UK shop at Christmas in the 70s.

    • You could grab a wire hanger out of your closet and make one of those head sculptures. Good luck getting $2M for it, though. I don’t know how they pull off that magic trick.

      The windows are not animated but that doesn’t lessen or distract from the thrill.

      I had no idea what a Heath-Robinson machine was so I Googled it. Brilliant. See that? I thought it was going to be just another dull Saturday morning.

  9. What great window displays – also enjoyed your old journal entry.

    The waking up and not getting back to sleep. I hate that! The old brain just goes round and round, not getting anywhere. Yikes. Did I mention that I hate that?

    • Hey, you’re new! Thanks very much for reading and taking the time to comment. It’s much appreciated. Glad you like this stuff. It’s fun to read but at the time it wasn’t much fun. Good thing I wrote it all down.

  10. I swear I read this post when it was first published and I was going to make a comment about Mr Bananas and the windows…. and then I dreamt that I’d already written the comment… and then I came to tour blog and realised I hadn’t read the journal part… and now I’m wondering if Maureen ever got over you…. and why are there no mountain tops in the UK for the broken hearted to retreat to????
    Ack, self publish your journals, PLEASE.

    • Maureen was a friend of my sisters’ who moved to NYC. She left town. She moved to L.A. and became a seamstress on the show ‘Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.’ Do you know it? She eventually married and had two kids. I’m certain they getting past me was a snap.

      I set them all out in book form. No takers. You want it? I’ll send it to you for free.

      • Yes please. I wish I’d kept journals like yours. Mine were full of stuff like ‘I am too drunk to write anything’ and ‘Oops, forgot to write anything last week’. I think I was also hampered by the thought of someone finding my witterings.

  11. I wonder how much they’d want for the Calder shadow? That’s the most intriguing part of the art and probably worth the $800,000 estimate.

    Are you still generally as miserable and angst-ridden as your early journals reveal? Or have you discovered the secret to contentment? And do you secretly feel guilty for being content: for settling for contentment instead of setting the world ablaze as planned? I only mention that last bit because I sometimes think that about my own life. Maybe we all do once we pass 40, 50, up and out.

    • That piece wouldn’t be JACK without the shadow. That’s one of the two million, at least.

      The truth is I wasn’t as bad as it sounds. It was the one and only place I could vent, and vent I did. But once I got it all off my chest and stepped away from the keyboard, everything was great. Although, Klinger’s girlfriend Fun used to call me ‘Dark Mark.’ And not in an insulting way. I wonder what she meant by that?

  12. I’ve been a really bad blogger lately, so I’m sorry for the late visit. The windows are beautiful. Thanks for posting your photos of them. Your blog is like a window to the windows! Always such interesting stuff here. I’ve always liked your potpourrie potpourri? format. Sorry, I can’t spell that word. Totally snowed in right now… but it’s really pretty. I want to go out and take pictures. I’m still feeling the effects of my company’s Christmas party last night… I want grilled cheese. lol Could write a journal entry like you do about what goes on there. Happy holidays, Mark 🙂

  13. We were in NYC last weekend to see the Xmas decorations, SOMETHING ROTTEN and the Botanical Gardens. Most of the window displays were not very Christmas looking, not like I thought. The anti-fur people were in front of Bergdorf-Goodman store. Naked Cowboy in front of Trump Tower. Many police were visible and directing traffic. I think they do a terrific job keeping the peace and moving people along. Also went to Katz’s Deli, I wanted to see the letter streets where you lived at one time. Sure is different than the UES. The Rockefeller Xmas Tree looks a lot different in person. More air than branches.
    Your journal sounds like George Costanza. Very entertaining as usual, it will make an interesting and funny book.

  14. Your piece made me laugh out loud. Poor love – you did go through the mill.
    Those windows are astonishing – you are miles ahead of us in that sort of art. All it needs is an Attenborough looming over it although I think he should retire now. Gracefully. Have a happy

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