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How to UnJade a Jaded New Yorker (Hint: Have You Seen the 5th Ave Holiday Windows?)

Christmas window NY

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arlen hollis kane

by Arlen Hollis Kane

Every year throngs of visitors clog the streets around Fifth Avenue.  The migration begins in December and continues into January.  What, you may ask, has caused this mass visitation upon New York’s iconic shopping street?  Well, if you have to ask, you’ve never been to New York during the holiday season.

The songwriters may have been taken with the idea of decking the halls, but here in the Big Apple, we dress the windows.  And dress them we do.  This is one of the few sights that can get New Yorkers to forsake their comfortable sofas, bundle up for the cold and trundle off to join the swarms of gawking tourists.

The windows of the Fifth Avenue shops never disappoint.  Of course, like all things New York, there are differing opinions.  This year, for instance, my admiration for the spectacular Saks Fifth Avenue windows, was disputed by a well-dressed matron who found them lacking, along with my taste, I suppose.  As the poet and monk, John Lydgate said, “…you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”  John, if you’ll allow, I’d like to add, “…not even close…”

bergdorf goodman christmas windows
image source: Arlen Hollis Kane

Nevertheless, the windows wow us every season and especially Bergdorf Goodman’s.  This year they were nothing short of spectacular, the best ever – of course, I think I said that last year, and probably the year before.  I was fortunate to find a time when the streets were quiet enough that I could linger in front of each window, drinking in the divine result of someone’s imagination.   I wanted to find that guy or gal, buy them a hot toddy, and toast the blazing creativity that gave rise to my viewing pleasure.

Bergdorf’s theme this year was sweets and treats, in settings ranging from Old World chocolates and cuckoo clocks to dizzying arrays of neon-bright candy, and robots.  But a stark and stunning black-and-white window may have taken the cake,  (no – ahem – pun intended), but you be the judge.  And while you’re at it, see if you agree with me about the gorgeous Saks Fifth Avenue windows.  And, that folks, is how you unjade a jaded New Yorker.

You can see the windows on the web, including this link:


(This article is part of Arlen’s Memos From Manhattan series, exclusive to 50PlusToday)

arlen hollis kaneArlen is a Manhattan-based award-winning healthcare writer, who turned over every rock to help find the road to well-being for her readers.  She writes a regular column for  50PlusToday called Memos From Manhattan. After reaching 50 Plus years, she pursued a childhood passion and enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Technology.  She is now a designer and maker of handbags, scarves and jewelry.  Her design work in fashion blends perfectly with her art.  Her photograph, City Birds and her abstract acrylic “Big Bang,” were featured in juried shows in New York.  “Off The Wall,”  her one-woman show featuring both her photography and art was a major exhibit at the Gallery of the Borough President of Manhattan.

Arlen volunteers for Dorot, an organization that helps seniors stay engaged and socialized, and Big Apple Greeter, a free “welcome visitor” program which matches locals with visitors, so they can experience New York through the eyes of a New Yorker.  Her love affair with her hometown has turned Arlen’s focus to writing about the ever astonishing people, places and events that inspire the phrase “only in New York.”

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