By Yepoka Yeebo
MANHATTAN — As Thanksgiving rolls around and the countdown to the winter holidays begins, Manhattan's department stores are doing their bit for seasonal cheer with the debut of their holiday window displays.
Scenes from the film "Miracle on 34th Street," and the Broadway musical "Elf" grace the 34th Street windows of Macy's between Broadway and Seventh Avenue. Over on the Broadway side, there are colorful scenes from "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus..." illustrating the story of 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon, who wrote to the New York Sun in 1887 hoping for confirmation of Kris Kringle's existence.
Lord & Taylor, at 38th Street and Fifth Avenue, polled customers around the country on their favorite holiday memories and used them to create dollhouse scenes, with displays ranging from a recreation of a perfect 1950s Christmas to a funky '70s holiday celebration.
Designers including Jason Wu, Marc Jacobs, Nina Ricci, Oscar de la Renta and Proenza Schouler made unique pieces for the windows at Saks Fifth Avenue at 48th Street. The windows pair high fashion with scenes of holiday wonder, with animatronic children swinging from mechanical sea creatures and piloting little submarines next to mannequins dressed for the season.
The windows at Tiffany & Co, farther up Fifth Avenue on 57th Street, tell the tale of a princess locked in a story-book tower. Her prince, turned into a little blue bird, tries to break the spell with a series of ever-more lavish Tiffany gifts.
There are decadent travel scenes on display in the windows at Bergdorf Goodman at 58th Street and Fifth Avenue, including a Victorian-style flying machine, a depiction of the original Penn Station and a golden Pegasus set against a medieval mural.
A stuffed Mario Batali, apple in mouth, surrounded by a garnish of Croc Shoes graces the food-themed windows at Barney's on 60th Street and Madison Avenue. The windows are packed with other celebrity chefs, including fatty-food-fanatic Paula Deen who clutches packs of butter and Andrew Cuomo's girlfriend Sandra Lee, who sports a "Cuomo" button.
The slightly more muted display at Bloomingdale's at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue features sleek flat screens flashing seasonal scenes.
With his nose pressed against the glass of Lord & Taylor's windows, Connor Obeng, 3, looked at the displays with intense concentration as his father George explained every scene, eliciting gasps of "Wow!" from the little boy.
Connor's father, George Obeng, 47, said the touring of Christmas windows was an annual tradition with his son, as it was when he was growing up.
"I liked the sense of wonder and I want Connor to feel the same," he said.