No city drinks in the festive spirit like New York. December is when Fifth Avenue can be herself once again, overdressing for the party with glittering lightshows and dancing crystal to out sparkle the world’s best. Here, Christmas starts the morning after Thanksgiving, so with only four weeks to go shoppers don’t become holi-jaded like in other cities that have been decked out since late August.
And a million shoppers also remain remarkably good humoured. As they battle through the crowds in the brittle-bright winter sun to the soundtrack of the Sally Army bell ringers (in full sidewalk jive) it’s as if everyone is just happy to be here. The Book of Mormon need not have tried to convince us (so hilariously) that this is the true promised land, for New York has become the very heart of Christmas. After all, so much goodwill was forged right here on the streets of Manhattan beginning with ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ via ‘Scrooged’ and ‘Trading Places’ right up to ‘Elf’. If New York is the heart of Christmas then at the foot of the Rockefeller Center, overlooking a thousand furry-hatted skaters, the hundred foot shimmering spruce is surely its epicentre.
Perhaps it’s because New York is still young enough to believe, for there is little trace of cynicism here. Every store joins the party and the avenues are ablaze with seasonal celebrations and world class windows. From chain store campaigns and luxe-brand displays of artsyness, through to the finely sculpted creativity of Bergdorf’s, Saks, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Fishs Eddy, ABC and many, many more, New York at Christmas is, ultimately, a month long festival of optimism. Long may it reign.