NEW YORK (PIX11) — The holiday season kicked off in style Thursday across the city.
Three major department stores, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and Bergdorf Goodman, unveiled their window displays. While they hope for a successful year, the city is trying to entice more shoppers to midtown.
This season alone draws an additional ten million visitors to the world-famous shopping mecca, according to the Fifth Avenue Association.
Even the man in red was spotted outside Bergdorf’s starting his shopping and gazing at the dazzling window displays from Midtown to Herald Square.
He was asked about his favorite part about New York.
“Oh, the excitement, the color and decorations. But most important – the spirit,” said Santa Claus.
It’s that nostalgia that has people flocking to Manhattan year after year to see the city sparkle.
“With the lights, music and people, it does put you in the mood no matter how you’re feeling,” Renee Bond of Cape May, N.J., said.
Macy’s revealed its annual flagship store display, a tradition since 1874.
“We have about four interactive windows now here. And the others that aren’t are animatronics,” said Manuel Urquizo, Macy’s window designer.
When the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be fully lit in the coming days, the city has set three Sundays in December as car-free days.
“Allowing more people, the room to enjoy it. That’s a gift to all of us,” said Marie Boster, president of the Fifth Avenue Association.
On Dec. 3, 10 and 17, from 12 p.m. until 6:00 p.m., Fifth Avenue will be open only to pedestrians between 48th Street and 59th Street.
In addition, throughout the entire holiday season, moveable barriers will be placed on the east and west sides of Fifth Avenue, between 48th Street and 52nd Street.
On days the street is not designated an “Open Street,” beginning in the early afternoon on weekdays and in the morning on weekends, these barriers will be used to repurpose a lane of traffic on each side of the avenue as additional pedestrian space.
Starting with the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on Wednesday, Nov. 29, through January, the city will pedestrianize the streets surrounding Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall, using movable barriers to partially or fully close streets to cars and alleviate foot traffic along sidewalks.
With the support of Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and New York City Councilmember Keith Powers, West 49th Street and West 50th Street, between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue, will be open only to pedestrians between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 a.m. every day during the most congested hours.
The New York Police Department will help ensure vehicle traffic does not enter those streets.