Midtown is decked out in its holiday finery. The TREE has been duly lit, and Cartier has wrapped itself in its annual bow, which is now a shocking LED red, instead of its classy velvet ribbon of old.
Depending on how your holiday equilibrium calibrates, the decorations can lift you up, or bring you down. The store windows in particular are astonishing flights of imagination and technology, or soulless expressions of capitalism at its most crass.
I try to embrace the best of the intentions, the beauty of the lights, the merriment of elves and Santa’s workshop as I walk up Fifth against the tide of tourists descending to the Apple Store.
One scene that I find myself returning to are the windows at Bergdorf's, the 57th street side. They are a vision of chic, Victorian attitude in smashing red, black, and white plaster.
Charles Dickens’s head surveys the “Ways to Say 'Season’s Greetings'” tableau, as he should. Edward Gorey-like sketches of buildings, bridges, ships and stairs set the backdrop for the hands with quill pens, old typewriters, and vintage phones of this stylized world, all symbols of communicating the tidings of the season.
One model is wearing a fabulous black princess-style coat with cloche hat, another has a stunning shag dress, with elbow-length black velvet gloves. In a flash of whimsy, another model has a sash that says Messenger, a translation from the Greek for angel.
Such a grown-up vision of the Season. I’m so glad that someone sees it this way. That makes me feel merry and bright, as I walk along the park, and into the night.
(photos by Dan Cross)