To momentarily forget the massacres in Paris and San Bernardino, the insane arsenals amassed by my fellow citizens, the irresponsible rhetoric of those who spend billions in their bid to become the president of the U.S.A…. I took myself to midtown Manhattan to view the Christmas windows.
As always the stores’ extravaganzas were magical.
What flight of fancy and craftsmanship we poor benighted humans are capable of! I started my exploration of the windows with Lord and Taylor. Their theme, “Favorite Things,” stressed carbs and I vicariously indulged in the displays illustrating a patisserie, stacked with cream-filled cakes, and a sweet shop filled with French macarons and overgrown cupcakes. I was tempted to nibble on the fence of the store’s giant gingerbread house.
At L&T, as in other stores’ windows, animals played a major role. Spectacular Canada geese wandered amidst mannequins festively clad in red gowns or displaying gorgeous jewels.
Saks Fifth Avenue was my next stop. All their windows were done in white, featuring snow-covered renditions of China’s Great Wall, India’s Taj Mahal, France’s Eiffel Tower and more. The actual New York weather belied these winter wonderlands. Though a delight, the balmy temperatures underline the urgency, or should one say hopelessness, of the Paris climate talks that were happening at the very moment of my expedition. Saks, too, featured layered cakes and pyramids of French macarons, though a delightfully trussed suckling pig aroused my own lust.
I crossed the street to visit Rockefeller Center’s annual Christmas tree, a tradition started in 1932 by workers who built the Center during the Great Depression. On my way down the famous promenade or Channel Gardens, meant to symbolize the arm of the Atlantic that separates England and France, I came across a giant Lego store. I was overwhelmed by the accurate reproduction of the entire Rockefeller Center out of tiny Lego bricks. The model included the famous skating rink, the Prometheus Statue and a helicopter landing on a roof.
I successfully avoided the temptations of real chocolate stores—Lindt, Godiva, and Teuscher—and made my way to Bergdorf Goodman. It was my favorite as far as both creativity and over-the-top extravagance were concerned. The store had pooled its efforts with Swarovski’s “millions of crystals.” I was most taken with the macho Greek/Latin god Poseidon/Neptune, entirely fashioned out of delicate pearls, beard and trident included. A sequin-covered sea turtle, an equally funny sea monster sporting a lobster claw, and an elegantly clad model accompanied Neptune. I also loved the dog—or was it wolf?—faced fortuneteller, advising a woman in a gypsy-like outfit. And yes, in case you wondered, somewhere amidst all the wild fantasy of the Bergdorf Goodman windows, there were one or more layered cakes.
Christmas windows are planned a year in advance. The 2016 windows are already in production. Let us hope that the world has improved by then.