Dec 24, 2010

I did this, so you don't have to

I'm pretty sure my mom has zero recollection of what it's like to have a small child. Or maybe she simply blocked out all the less-than-happy memories about what life can be like day-to-day with a toddler. How else to explain why we have so many conversations like this:

Me:  Yeah, so we took the train upstate to visit some friends this weekend. 
Mom: Oh! How long is the ride?
Me: About two hours.
Mom: That must have been fun!
Me: Uh, the first five minutes,'re kidding, right?
Mom: Kidding? Why?
Me: Have you ever met a two-year-old who likes to sit in one spot for two hours?
Mom: But she must have had fun looking out the window.
Me: Maybe if Elmo was running alongside the train juggling hotdogs. So: no. Not really. 

Anyway, there are a lot of things in New York City that sound super fun, but aren't really when you have to drag a toddler along. Seeing Santa at Macy's is high on that list. (I tried explaining to my mom just how brutally long the line is, and how excruciating it is to stand behind some obnoxious, bronzed four-kid family from New Jersey. Seriously, is Santaland worth crossing state lines?). 

Still, we braved the midtown Manhattan crowds yesterday because Ryan had the morning off and I really wanted to see the holiday window displays. Admittedly, morning is not the best time to see Christmas lights and windows (plus the glare gets in the way of a good photo), but we live an hour from midtown and the prospect of going there post-work-rush-hour-dinner-hour was just too much for me.

The best holiday windows are found at Macy's, Saks, Lord & Taylor, Barney's, Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdales. (Here's a map for anyone who cares.) We were only able to see Macy's (we had to go there to buy shoes for the kiddo), Saks and Lord & Taylor. The three Bs (Bergdorf, Barney's and Bloomies) are all about 20 blocks uptown from the others so we couldn't fit them in this visit. But you can go to Gothamist for more photos (all better than mine because they were taken at night). And WNYC has a nice breakdown on the windows plus a walking tour planned out.

My favourite in the three we saw was Saks, whose windows featured one-of-a-kind designs by Alexander McQueen, Calvin Klein, Jason Wu, Kaufman Franco, Marc Jacobs, Marchesa, Nina Ricci, Oscar de la Renta, Proenza Schouler, and Sophie Theallet. Lucy called the little girl featured in each diorama "Goldilocks," though she may be more of a sci-fi Little Red Riding Hood. Here she is catching mechanized butterflies:

Riding on a robot elephant:
Driving her futuristic bubble car:
And hitching a ride on a mechanized octopus:
Down Fifth Ave. is Lord & Taylor, another fancy-person's department store that I have never once set foot in because I couldn't afford to buy a luggage tag there. The store polled its customers for their favourite holiday memories and used them to create sentimental dollhouse scenes from various eras, like the following:

Now it doesn't take a demographer to figure out how diverse Lord & Taylor's clientele probably is: rich, very rich and stupidly rich. Oh, and totally white apparently because this little guy (who appears ready to climb up the fire escape) was the only person of colour in the store's 12 different vignettes:

Macy's throws up the same windows every year — a series of tableaux from the Miracle on 34th Street. It's much more kid-friendly than the artsier windows uptown, but the glare was really bad and in every photo I took you can see Footlocker and T-Mobile across the street better than you can see the Santa scenes:

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