For the 2 visits I made to New York I ordered a free guide to whats on in advance from the official New York tourist website. If you don't know about this free guide it would take a bit of finding on their site as they don't shout about it. I found it to be a really worthwhile little book full of whats on for the time of year you are visiting and also full of discount vouchers for shopping and attractions. I would never have known about "all day discount vouchers" available from Macys and Bloomingdales had it not been for the guide. Just make sure you allow enough time for the book to arrive before you go (a couple of weeks should be fine).
How did I manage to miss this in years past? For two weeks each spring, around Easter, Macy's in midtown suddenly develops schizophrenia. Is it a store, or a botanical garden? Shoppers flock to see the first floor transformed by the addition of literally thousands and thousands of spring plants (tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, lilies, azaleas, flowering crab apples, and a bevy of other gorgeous specimens whose names escape me at the moment), all displayed above the selling floor so that you literally gawk your way past handbags and jewelry, staring up and hoping not to trip over an errant stroller or a tourist snapping a digital photo. There are even complimentary twenty-minute tours for those who want to be certain not to miss any of the spectacular "gardens" and the Bouquets of the Day, splendid displays by sought-after floral designers. Definitely a Must See if you're in town when it is in bloom!
We had to see the Waldorf-Astoria -- the reason being that one of my friends told everyone she was staying there, confusing our hotel, The Warwick, with The Waldorf. She was amazed how well-known our accomodations were, and the knowing nods and nudges she got from friends, "well, you can afford it". A wealthy elderly friend accounted to her how her grandparents met at The Waldorf, and that her upcoming trip there brought back memories of her grandparents. Well, shortly before we left, I had to break it to her that we were staying at the WARWICK, not the WALDORF. We laughed until we had tears in our eyes, and she decided to let everyone think that we were really staying at the Waldorf. We vowed to see it, just to see what we were missing.
The present-day Waldorf Astoria was built in 1931 and was the residence of the Duke and Duchess of York. The piano in the Peacock Alley lounge is still there, once belonging to Cole Porter when he was a resident. The building is truly beautiful, and if you are in the area stop by, but I personally think the St. Regis outdoes it in opulence and "wow" factor.
If you come out of the side entrance of Macy's on 34th street you will see this sign which says:
Here the motion picture began: On the night of April 23, 1896, on this site in Koster & Bial's Music Hall, Thomas A. Edison with the "Vitascope" first projected a moving picture.
Thomas Edison presented here a film that showed surf breaking on a beach, some boxing and some dancing, and the rest they say is history!
Every Spring Macy's puts on an extravagent floral show. We happened to be in town that weekend and spent an hour or so enjoying the wonderful arrangements of colorful flowers. Actually, we'd seen this event at Macy's in San Francisco a couple years ago. You can hardly believe these flowers are real.
When we visited New York last spring, Macy's happened to be having their annual Flower Show. What initially caught my attention was the beautiful, colourful sign outside. During this event the whole first floor of the store is filled with over a million fresh flowers. We visited on April 26 and it was just drawing to a close.
If you have hayfever, don't forget to take your medicine, otherwise this will definitely set you off. Well, worth it, though.
“Many a good newspaper story has been ruined by over verification.”
—James Gordon Bennett (1841-1918)
Named for the newspaper, the New York Herald, that was once published to the north of the square, the paper was only one of many printers and publishers that could be found in the area by the early 20th century. Founded by James Gordon Bennett in 1835, the New York Herald was popular because of its sensational scandal and crime reporting, which resulted in it enormous circulation.
Herald Square, as with all the street grid squares in New York City, is really a triangle. It is formed by the intersection of West 34th Street, Sixth Avenue (officially known as Avenue of the Americas) and Broadway.
The City of New York bought the plot of ground that is today Herald Square in 1846 when it opened up Bloomingdale Road, now Broadway. Herald Square has been immortalized by George M. Cohan in his song “Give My Regards to Broadway,” which contains the lyrics “remember me to Herald Square.” Many Americans have become familiar with Herald Square as the end-point for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, broadcast each year on television. Macy’s flagship store has faced the Square since 1902.
The focal point for Herald Square is the Bennett Monument, honoring James Gordon Bennett, Sr. (1795-1872) and his son, James Gordon Bennett, Jr. (who is quoted above).
The owls that top the gate posts (see photos #3 & #4) at the south entrance to the park are attributes of the Roman goddess Minerva, the central figure of the Bennett Monument at the north end of the park.
Macy's is absolutely huge - they sell EVERYTHING!!!! - I would recommend visiting the customer information desk to get your 10% discount card and go shopping!
I would advise that you get a plan of the store and decide which bits you want to look at - it is far too big to do it all in one go, and can get a bit overwhelming (not to mention crowded!)
I would also advise going when it first opens or towards the end of the day as it seems to get VERY busy when people have finished work and it is just no pleasure at all looking around.
They have some good seasonal offers on - I got 2 tops reduced from $79 each to $34 each - plus 10% knocked off - how about that for a bargain!
There are plenty of places to grab a drink or a bite to eat - but just remember that everybody has the same idea as you so at key eating times can get very busy.
You can't go to New York City without visiting Macy's department store, its huge and it has some brilliant presents to buy and coming from the UK even though it is a department store it is still cheaper than UK prices.
Everything you could possibly want to buy under one roof !! girls heaven!
“I have made mistakes but I have never made the mistake of claiming that I have never made one.”
—James Gordon Bennett (1841-1918)
The focal point for Herald Square is the Bennett Monument, honoring James Gordon Bennett, Sr. (1795-1872) and his son, James Gordon Bennett, Jr. (who is quoted above). The monument, made of Milford pink granite, showcases the 11-foot-tall bronze figure of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and the arts, and two bell-ringing blacksmiths, Stuff (7’4” tall) and Guff (6’11” tall). The monument was dedicated in 1940.
These figures stood, from 1895 to 1921, above the cornice of the New York Herald Building, on the north side of Herald Square, where Stuff and Gruff marked out the hours. All three figures were designed by Antonin Jean Carles of Paris; and along with the bell were cast in Deauville, France in 1894. The clock at the top of the monument was part of the New York Herald building façade.
In 1928, William T. Dewart, publisher of the New York Sun, gave them to New York University. That same year the University lent them permanently to the New York City’s.
MACY'S: The world's largest store
For those of you who know me well...you know that this is Karin HEAVEN...the world's LARGEST store...OOoooOooooo...
Macy's and Bloomingdale's are the most famous New York department stores.
Not especially fancy, in my opinion, and not likely to offer you a good deal, either.