How do you get even more people to enjoy the world’s busiest neighborhood during the most wonderful time of the year? For New York City, the answer is clear. Shut it down – to traffic.
In November, New York City officials unveiled plans to bring back and expand the popular holiday season Open Street pedestrian plaza along Fifth Avenue and around Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan this December. Building on the success of last year’s groundbreaking program, the 2023 version will set a record for New York City’s largest-ever holiday season-specific Open Street running on three Sundays in December (3, 10, and 17) between noon and 6 p.m.
This year, the iconic Fifth Avenue corridor will be fully open to pedestrians between 48th Street and 59th Street, in addition to the area around Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall that will be pedestrianized throughout the holiday season–making enjoying the eye-popping seasonal displays safer and more fun for everyone.
Here’s a list of our favorite displays for 2023.
Bergdorf Goodman (Fifth Avenue at 58th Street)
The Christmas windows at Bergdorf’s always raise the bar of creativity, and this year is no exception. For the 2023 holidays, the landmark department store answers the rhetorical question “Isn’t it Brilliant?” in a series of seven windows conceived by their in-house design team. Highlighting designs by Alexander McQueen, Thom Browne, Paco Rabanne, and more, the windows depict a series of unique and eye-catching examples of brilliance with a mixture of chrome, mirrors, and neon lights.
Cartier (Fifth Avenue at 52nd Street)
For 2023, the Cartier Mansion presents perhaps its most whimsical décor in its century-long residence on Fifth Avenue. In years past, the jeweler has turned the marble and granite façade of its neo-renaissance style palazzo into a giant gift to Fifth Avenue–complete with a sparkling red bow. This year, they’re taking visitors up, up, and away with a fanciful airship floating above clouds of bare lightbulbs that sparkle on their flagship home.
Saks Fifth Ave (Fifth Ave at 49th and 50th Streets)
With apologies to Harry Winton, Tiffany, and Cartier, the most sparkling jewel on Fifth Avenue this season is the traffic-stopping light show at Saks–this year in partnership with Christian Dior. At first glance, the seven-story bronze zodiac wheel adorned with clover, moon, and star charms atop a sea of oversized flowers, may leave spectators to wonder, “Which holiday are they celebrating?” But when the sun sets and the light show starts, thousands of programmable LEDs–accompanied by music by Kishi Bashi, Tchaikovsky, and others–dazzle the senses with the luxury retailer’s most glorious Christmas gift to Gotham since they first started presenting their annual holiday spectacle twenty years ago. Saks and Dior’s “Carousel of Dreams” light show runs every ten minutes daily from 5 p.m. to midnight.
Macy’s Herald Square (Seventh Avenue at 34th Street)
Due to its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade and 13,000-square-foot Santaland Christmas Village, Macy’s Herald Square flagship store is the city’s undisputed Capital of Christmas. This year’s windows celebrate the magic of friendship with Tiptoe the reindeer in a wonderland featuring whimsical materials and interactive elements, including a special sing-a-long karaoke display, that create moments of delight, wonder and awe, all connecting back to Macy’s holiday theme of “Give Love.” Thinking of checking out Macy’s window this year? Why not add to the fun by making a reservation to see Santa while you’re there?
Bloomingdales (Lexington Avenue at 59th Street)
Although this is off of the holiday open streets corridor, it’s always a good time to take a trip to the store that Andy Warhol called “a new kind of museum.” This year, the Lexington Avenue retailer invites shoppers into a world of pure imagination with windows inspired by the Warner Brothers film “Wonka.” Bloomie’s theme this year celebrates the Best Holiday Ever, and is inspired by the look, feel, and magic of Willy Wonka. Expect to have the wonder of the holidays come to life with colorful, bright windows full of sparkle and oversized candies and chocolates, all inspired by the highly-anticipated holiday blockbuster.
The Central Park retail experience invites all to enjoy their annual “Holiday Under the Stars'' with the largest specialty-crafted exhibit of illuminated color mixing in the world. The dazzling display features twelve 14-foot stars that hang from the ceiling of the 150-foot Great Room overlooking Central Park. Daily light and music shows are every half hour from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m., with extended showings at 11:30pm and 12:00am on Saturdays.
In partnership with Wells Fargo, New York’s newest retail experience destination is adorned with over two million twinkling lights, 115 miles of string lights, 725 evergreen trees, floating illuminated set pieces, and a 32-foot hot air balloon centerpiece suspended in The Great Room of The Shops & Restaurants. Come for the shopping, sights, and restaurants. Or take the elevator to the 100th floor for the highest indoor rink in the city.