New York knows how to celebrate Christmas and how to decorate for it. There are ceremonious unveilings of department store windows that are marvels of ingenuity. I was at the Bloomindale's reveal one Christmas when they had hired a famous musician and his band to play for the event. They were on a bandstand in front of the store and people were crowded around to listen, which ironically kept most people from seeing the windows.
I don't know if New York sleeps or not, but it certainly goes home after nine. When everyone has had dinner, the street start to empty. It's the best time to see the holiday windows. You can take your time looking, studying, seeing the artistry and the story behind the glass. And you need to do that, especially at places like Lord & Taylor where the windows are small and the exhibits are minature. At that hour, you can step close and stare. They even put up a divider on the sidewalk to keep the viewers from being trampled by the regular pedestrians.
I've devised a little Christmas-window stroll here, beginning dinner at Rolf's German restaurant. The restaurant creates a fantasyland of Christmas decor every year that is worth stopping in to see. Dinners are on the pricey side, but you can split one because they are large portioned and New York restaurants have no qualms about setting down that extra plate.
Start here: Rolf's 281 - 3rd Street (at 23rd Street)
Then walk over to Fifth Avenue and hear north:
1.Lord & Taylor 424 - 5th Ave. at 39th Street
2. Saks Fifth Avenue 611 - 5th Ave. between 50th and 49th
3. Tiffany's 727 - 5th Ave just south of 57th St.
4. Bergdorf-Goodman at 5th Ave and 57th St. [It was built on the site of the demolished Vanderbilt mansion].
After your walk, go north to Central Park and take a carriage ride to top off the evening.