You're invited to come along on my Holiday Decorations Tour.

On the day after Thanksgiving I visit NYC shops to admire their holiday windows and holiday interiors. It's about seeing beautiful things, not shopping. It's also a time to notice how businesses entice people to enter, how they use their space to present groups of items and to appreciate how they light their space and merchandise.

Friday, November 28, 2013

If you're coming, just meet us at 10:00am outside Anthropologie on 3rd Ave. at 71st St., NW corner.

Best wishes,

Iris Bell


3rd Ave. at 71st St., NW corner

This is an unusual use of space. About half the floor of the main level has been removed, creating a lower level "great room" instead of a normal basement. The great room changes the way we see all the spaces in this shop. Last year there was a splendid Xmas tree on the balcony. Except that the "balcony" is actually below street level.

Ralph Lauren Men

Madison at 72nd St., SE corner

This mansion's interior was created in 1983 to the taste of Ralph Lauren. It's inside the shell of this 1890s building. The windows, all the floors and even the decor of the back stairways are worth seeing.

Ralph Lauren Women, Home and Children

Madison at 72nd St., SW corner

This mansion was built in 2010, to the taste of Ralph Lauren. It was inspired by the 1758 building in Paris where Lauren has his shop. All it's windows and floors are worth seeing. Every detail, from the hinges on the counters to the handrail supports have been chosen to create elegance and beauty.

Donna Karan NY

Madison, between 68th and 69th Sts., E. side, mid-block

The windows have dramatic holiday decorations. The back of the main floor has a Zen style outdoor garden with an indoor/outside pool.

Crate & Barrel

Madison at 60th St., NW corner

The main design element I appreciate are its walls, which create many partial rooms throughout the main floor. They're at a slight angle. This angle makes the space seem open, keeping the eye from noticing the many pillars, in a tight grid, holding up the building. We'll look at these walls on the main floor as we walk through toward 5th Ave.

Bergdorf Goodman

Fifth Ave. between 57th and 58th Sts., NW corner

The windows are some of the largest and most heavily decorated in the world. The top floor has a display of ornaments under a skylight.



 This is a wonder filled British bookstore.

I'd seen the "Keep Calm" posters. This video explains their origin, but it's worth looking at the video just to see this bookstore.  And through that link I found this page of the 20 most beautiful bookstores in the world.

These are the types I things for which I love the web.

Best wishes,


p.s. I vote for the two Ralph Lauren mansions on Madison off 72cnd Street. They have small bookshops scattered through out them. The books and the ways they're displayed are often changed during the year.



 We were at an opening night revival of "Fiddler on The Roof" on Sat. It was performed by The Village Light Opera Group at their new venue in Pace U. in lower Manhattan, right near J & R. It's worth the trip. The glorious music and lyrics by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick are set to an original story by Sholem Aleichem. What this group brought to the stage was the energy and sensitivity which did justice to the underlying ideas.

The story's set in a Jewish village in 1905 Russia at the first dawning of revolutionary change. The simple narrative approach chosen by director Tony Spinosa allows the audience to experience the positive changes, followed by the emotional turmoil felt by the main characters as traditional values begin to slip away. It moved Iris to tears.

Mr. Spinosa is also a choreographer. He reproduced the original Broadway choreography by Jerome Robbins. The singing brought enhanced meaning to Harnick's lyrics. The fact that there were no show stopping performances was actually a plus because our attention was never distracted from the story. There are three more chances to catch this musical before it goes away.

Best wishes, Paul and Iris



 Lovers of New York City or movies have until this Fri., June 22 to see the multimedia exhibit in Grand Central Terminal. It's based on the book, "Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies," by James Sanders.

But the book can't compete with experience of standing in Vanderbilt Hall in front of a gigantic painting of the stairway in the Penn Station, which was torn down decades ago. There are interiors and landscapes used in MGM films such as "North by Northwest" and "The Clock", plus film segments and stills of NYC streets and skylines in movies from the 1910s to the present.

The display has stills from films such as "The Fountainhead" and location photos used as inspiration for the recreations of NYC in Hollywood. The hundreds of photos and paintings have descriptions making their functions clear. An example of this is quote from by the art director Eugene Lourie: "We didn't want to eliminate reality, [but] to create the most suitable reality for the film. By omitting certain useless details, by underlining others…the designer could make the sets more expressive than real locations… A poetic reality, a reality with a soul."

The show is open from 10am to 7pm, 7 days a week. This Friday, June 22 is the last day.


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