And Saks Said: Let There Be Lights!

I hate Black Friday. I rue Cyber Monday. And my little Grinch heart grows blacker and blacker with each encroaching year of shameless holiday commercialism. Here I am in NYC on the biggest shopping weekend of the year and, while I momentarily stepped inside a store yesterday, I saw the mayhem before me and instantly retreated. Next time they ask, I will be honest:

“Any allergies?”

“Yes. Penicillin. And Christmas shopping.”

I’ve become so jaded that I failed even to be impressed by Bergdorf Goodman’s holiday window tableaus. “Not as good as last year”, I sniffed. Didn’t even take photos, so I have to shamelessly borrow from @avb’s Instagram pics:


Bergdorf Goodman window. Only I could fail to be impressed.

So when the CE suggested we walk down Fifth Avenue last night, I winced, I groaned, I pouted. He ignored me. “Get your coat on.”

We hardly needed our coats. The weather here has been splendid this week. (I’ll share the Thanksgiving pix later. And no, I have not forgotten about the Italy travelogue. We’ll be back to Tuscany before you know it.) It was almost 60 degrees last night and there was a collective joy in Midtown; Thanksgiving food comas had abated and it was a balmy evening in New York City, a perfect night for a walk.

Still, I clucked with withering disapproval. Gone is the glittering Cartier panther that always perched over the now-closed flagship store. Ferragamo’s lights twinkled nicely but could not quite pierce my steely anti-holiday resolve. I will admit that I did linger a bit to admire Harry Winston’s dressed-up facade, and Tiffany’s jeweled decor never fails to please.


Harry Winston on Fifth Avenue



We cut over to Rockefeller Center to look at this year’s tree, which stands guard over the ice rink. By Wednesday night it will be decorated and ready for its big moment at the tree-lighting ceremony. After Christmas, it will be cut and milled and donated to build homes for Habitat for Humanity. If that doesn’t soften a bitter heart, I don’t know what will.


Waiting for its big moment: the 2015 Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center


Skaters enjoy the Rockefeller Center rink last night (except for one poor soul who apparently took a tumble. Ouch!)

I was ready to head back over to Midtown West, but the crowd carried us forward through Rockefeller Center, and suddenly, it seemed there was a host of heavenly beings, singing. Loudly! Really loudly! No, not “hosanna in the highest” because this, of course, is NYC, (or, as we know it, Secular Central) but a lovely, shimmering rendition of “Carol of the Bells”. And before us, the entire facade of Saks Fifth Avenue began to come alive with lights, ultimately revealing a frosty winter palace. A little bit Disney, a little bit Vegas, and a total crowd pleaser. Hundreds of people stood before it snapping photos and videos as the music washed over us.

My wizened little Grinch heart melted right then and there. Saks Fifth Avenue, that temple of commercialism, that mecca of merchandising, that store that puts the material in materialism, made me feel all tingly with holiday joy. It was a Christmas miracle!


Winter palace at Saks Fifth Avenue: you have to see it to believe it!

It’s impossible to appreciate the scale of it from a photo, but you can enjoy it here on YouTube:

I felt positively merry as we walked home. Something about goodwill toward men, and, even, shopping. Maybe you’ll get a present this year after all!


The real reason for the season: a recently spruced-up St. Patrick’s Cathedral gleamed across the street from Saks.




About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
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1 Response to And Saks Said: Let There Be Lights!

  1. dizzyguy says:

    The Saks display, when you encounter it by surprise like we did, really does drop your jaw. The volume and fidelity of the sound is hard to describe and the light show is just dazzling. What does it have in common with the Westminster Dog Show? This: Every single person there is just smiling and enjoying the moment. No cares, no worries, no problems, just simple enjoyment. Bravo Saks!

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