It’s early in the day, and the crowds haven’t formed yet at Macy’s famous flagship store on Herald Square in the heart of Manhattan. You can be sure that they will, though, because it’s Christmastime, and for many people, shopping at Macy’s has long been an integral part of the holiday. Macy’s was a national name long before they became a national chain, a notoriety that grew immensely with the release of the 1947 film “Miracle on 34th Street”, and the first national telecasts of its famous Thanksgiving Day parade.
And then there were the famous Christmas window displays, including this one from 1959 entitled “A Fantasy of Christmas”, probably one of the most famous displays in retail history. Covering the entire span of Macy’s Broadway storefront, the display consisted of a series of dioramas of street scenes, using a centuries-old European art technique called “vue d’optique”, a form of perspective view. With “color and glitter…dancing lights and figures in motion”, as a Macy’s ad in the New York Times put it, tied together with a white and gold framework, it had to have been an amazing sight.
Today the store still exists, its famous facade, gilt “Macy’s” lettering and clock still intact. Every year, excited crowds flock to see their latest Christmas display. This one would have been something else again, though!
I want to take this opportunity, once again, to thank all of you who read this site on regular basis. I hope in a small way it brings some form of good memories, or comfort, or a bit of interesting history. For me, your readership, comments and kind e-mails have made the effort more than worth it.
Wishing you the Joy and the real meaning of Christmas for both you and your families, and a healthy and happy New Year. Talk to you soon!