Sunday, December 2, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York on a foggy first Sunday in Advent.

Here's a foggy photo of my Advent calendar.  I took this picture before I began opening the little windows.  So far, I found a hidden bell and starry tree ornament behind the first two doors.

This is such a busy season in New York, with many folks visiting from other parts of our country and abroad.  I braved the sidewalk crowds in the midtown Fifth Avenue area earlier this week, and decided to snap a few Christmas seasonal sight to share with you all.

Here you see a charming little vignette in a Lord & Taylor store window.  Santa is busy checking is list to see who's been naughty or nice, while one of the reindeer pops in to see how toy production is going.

Also at L & T, this is a partial view of a traditional outdoor market scene.  Lots of baked goods are available.  I have yet to even begin collecting ingredients for my own cookie baking!

Yet another partial view of a Lord & Taylor window shows us a Japanese pavilion with lovely lanterns bobbing in the air.  I would imagine that those kimono clad ladies might be a little chilly.

Each of the above windows do feature some subdued animation and loudspeakers were playing very loud, not always traditional, music that seemed to not be a perfect match for the window designs.

It was the night before I took this picture that major television broadcasting covered the official lighting of this year's giant Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.  I am not sure if you can see in my photograph some remaining cables attached to the tree.  

The skating rink area below the tree was being reconditioned after the television show, so that skating might resume.  The first step in the reconditioning involved some large water hoses applying lots to water to the roughed up ice.  Later on a machine, with an Italian name I cannot remember, would be used to smooth the surface to perfection.

Just to the northern side of the skating area I found these giant music makers.  You can see some large metallic flags waving in the breeze.  The glass-domed feature in the background is an elevator that can take folks down to the skating level.   There are also some restaurants located on the lower level circumference of the skating rink.

Also in the Rockefeller Center area is a delightful Anthropologie shop, whose windows often make imaginative use of paper.  I thought these simple lanterns were quite lovely...sort of a variation on carved Jack O Lanterns, perhaps.

Anthropologie also featured quite a few giant papier mache style animals that had been whimsically decorated.

Since the sidewalks really were quite full, and my camera was flashing a low-battery warning light, I decided to curtail more photography until I reached the splendor of Bergdorf Goodman, a sumptuous luxury store that is celebrating a big anniversary, with windows that seemed to have a Jazz Age theme to their elegance. 

The following photo is of a very tiny window that was filled with lots of detail.

This picture shows some of a very large window, and indicates the fantasy that is usually associated with this shop's displays.  I did think that some of this year's BG windows were not quite as effective as those I remember from years past.

As the midday sun tried to peek out from the crowds, the reflective factor became apparent when I took this next photo.  This couple is seated at a theatre that seems to be part of a snow drift.  The gentleman is holding a variation of the usual Playbill given out at Broadway productions.  This version is a tribute to the Bergdorf anniversary.

Returning to my own west side neighborhood, I saw lots of beautiful potential Christmas trees for sale at the many sidewalk stands that appear just after Thanksgiving day.  Some of these trees are tall and full-branched, ready to be a focal point in someone's large apartment.

Others are more modest in scale, yet still have poise and beauty.

This is my initial Christmas in New York post.  I expect to be taking some more photographs as this months continues and will share some more city views with you all.  It's a wonderful time of the year!


  1. I would love to be there to see 5th avenue in all its splendor! Your post is lovely, thanks for sharing.

  2. I did enjoy that walk along the New York sidewalk looking in the store windows - what a contrast to our walk this morning!
    Celia xx

  3. I love your Christmas posts, Frances. They are always so full of exciting windows, views and vignettes.

  4. What a pleasure! I love those windows and can remember, when I was a child, being taken to see similar scenes in the windows of Tampa's two or three 'big' department stores.

  5. It is so much fun to be in New York at this time – thanks for taking us with you. I went to New York with one of my daughters once in mid-December and we loved it. I miss seeing the Christmas decorated windows here. In Paris my mother always took me to look at them, but here in the malls there are no large windows to see. Enjoy the season.

  6. That big machine that smooths the ice - it is every Canadian boy's dream to grow up to drive one, and many Canadian pre-teen girls had a crush on the driver of the machine at the rink. It's name? Zamboni!
    It has been years since I last saw a beautiful Christmas window. None of the stores up here bother to make any effort. I find it interesting that the shop with the best decorations is the Starbuck's coffee shop!

  7. Aren't they beautiful! The creativity seems to be catching too, from sophisticated and chic to child-like wonder. What fun to be in the middle of it.

  8. Thank you Frances for showing us some of the wonderful window displays... I will not get the chance to see any window displays this December, so I very much appreciate your tour around New York. The paper lanterns in Anthropologie are making my mind tick over with possibilities for my modest porch display! I am pleased you have the time to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy everything around you. Enjoy your week and I look forward to more NY Christmas posts x

  9. Anybody I know who has been to NY in the Christmas season had been so enchanted. But then, I don't know anybody who has recently been. Would it be the same symptom than in our garden center where every year they had the most stunning decoration and since last year it is all just a big disappointment? Or is it now the next generation of professional window creators being in charge?
    I am looking forward to seeing which cookies you are doing and to see more photos of your great city.

  10. Your window displays remind me of toy theatres albeit on a very large scale. I wonder how much work goes into the planning.

  11. Your last two posts have really brought home the resilience of a city so much of which was recently under water. I know that large parts escaped the worst of the damage but even so it's great to see these photographs in contrast to those earlier scenes of devastation.

  12. Dear Frances, Your photographs are beautiful and you are showing us such diversity...almost like being there.

  13. Thank you for a splendid selection, Frances.
    The London department stores always vie with each other for beautiful window decoration.

    Provided there’s not too much kitsch around I can get quite enthusiastic too. Our village has lights strung along the river , the bridge and the square and a large decorated tree, but otherwise the display is pretty minimal, I am glad to say.

  14. Frances, I just love that horned ram in papier mache. How do I obtain one?
    It looks most lustrous and beguiling and quite unexpected. How big is he? He seems to be full size - as though you might clamber on his back if he bent a knee. 'The horns upon this ram, sir, they reached up to the Moon. A man climbed up in January and he didn't come back till June."

    I wonder if the papier mache ram flies? You can see why Europa was taken in.

  15. What a treat, Frances! Colour and form; light and symbol.

    Like Fennie, I was rather taken with that ram! Seems so utterly festive.

  16. Loved that Bergdorf couple at the theatre..on PB today too
    I haven't seen the tree yet or Anthro..
    always a must-do
    Thanks Frances!

  17. PS
    You really don't need to use a flash Frances unless yr shooting the tree from a distance
    Even then...
    I almost never use my flash as all.
    Are you going tell where yr exhibit is???

  18. Dear Frances!
    What fun to see the views uptown.
    I'm going up this evening to a book talk by Susan Isaacs and will see some of the windows.
    thank you so much for the tantalizing preview.
    About to make my post about the library extravaganza that was so thrilling!

  19. It does look very different to Christmas in North Wales! Looking forward to seeing more :D

  20. The next best thing to being there. Do let us share more of your New York Christmas as it unfolds.

  21. I loved seeing all your pictures of the beginnings of Christmas in New York, Frances. I am so looking forward to seeing more as the season progresses :)
    Wishing you a happy week.
    Helen x

  22. It looks like the decorations are as impressive as ever, an exciting place for young and old gazing into shop windows.
    The snow hilltops give a natural Christmas feel. I was so cold yesterday I hardly looked in any of the shop windows, quickly through the doors into the warmth. I have a favourite shop which always gives me my Christmas fix, really beautiful toys for children and decorations.
    I hope you are busy knitting something beautiful, I have just ordered a new knitting book, feeling inspired to make something. The cold weather makes me want to wrap up in warm home knits.
    Hope all is well with you. X

  23. Hi Frances,
    Like with many other big celebrations the New Yorkers certainly know how to put on a good show! Londoners are not far behind; it's so much fun to have a look around every year.
    xoxo Ingrid

  24. Those windows are fabulous! The creativity pouring out of NYC is so inspiring. Thanks for sharing your walk!

  25. I love your advent calendar and all the 'tasteful' images you have in New York at this time of year. Thank you for the tour.

  26. Dear Frances,

    New York must look lovely this time of year. I like the photo's of the window displays you posted (especially the Anthropologie ones) and the huge Christmas tree at Rockefeller Centre! It will look magical at night with all the lights on and people skating.

    We decorated our tree tonight. It looks lovely. Hope your Christmas decorations will look beautiful too. Good luck on making the presents. I am enjoying your baret very much :-). It keeps my head really warm with the low temperatures we are having now.

    Wish you a happy 2nd Advent Sunday!

    Madelief x

  27. Dear Frances,

    Fabulous window displays, I do remember sitting on Santa's knee when I was a child queuing up to see him with my mother at Selfridges in London. I must have been good as he gave me a present.!

    I would love to be in 5th Avenue sharing in all it's festive beauty.

    Thank you for sharing with us dear Frances.


  28. Imagine being able to walk right by the tree at Rockefeller Center.
    No wonder you love it there~
    Just the most inspiring place to live, I think that little tree is so sweet. Did it come home with you?

  29. I'm late to this post, but what a pleasure to see these sights and to go on this tour with you. New York at Christmas is magical - my youngest once spent her birthday (21 Dec) skating at the Rockefeller Centre, followed by the NYC Ballet's Nutcracker, and it was unforgettable. I so look forward to your next posts!