|walking by a window at Bergdorf Goodman|
While recalling some of the department stores of New York holidays past - Gimbels, Bonwit Teller or B. Altman, there's the realization that the stores operate within a larger economy and could vanish. Owners can sell off the failing stores or shutter them. That's happened many times. But what's striking about the remaining department stores in New York, especially the historic ones that grew with the city, is their resilience, their ability to emerge stronger after refinancing, acquisition, or rebranding.
|strolling Fifth Avenue|
For New York, its historic stores and specialty stores such as Tiffany and Co. and FAO Schwartz have functioned as an important part of the society and economy, generating income from tourists and locals. The successful stores have exported the idea of the city itself, an alluring beacon or a chimera of opulence and wealth. Truman Capote's Holly Golightly, a poor Texas child of the Great Depression, feels better at Tiffany's.
New York's decorated store windows of the holidays transform the street into an outdoor museum. Walking the avenues to see the special lights and decorations for the holiday season elevates the city into the space of musical theater. Arm in arm, in their waistcoats and top hats, bustles and trains, the flâneur spirits of seasons past stroll the streets again.
|a window at Macy's|
The self-guided walk on the map includes the major department stores as well as many other famous points of interest - St. Patrick's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, MoMA, The New York Public Library, Bryant Park, and the Empire State Building.
View Favorite Stops for the Holidays in New York: A Walk in a larger map
Read all the posts in this series, Flagships of New York:
• The Great Department Stores (introduction)
• Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue
• Macy's on the Home Front, Photographs by Marjorie Collins for the FSA/OWI
• Bloomie's and Barneys
• Bergdorf Goodman and Henri Bendel
• A Self-Guided Holiday Walk to New York's Department Stores.
Images by Walking Off the Big Apple.