Vintage: People Mesmerized by Holiday Windows in New York City (1900s)

Vintage: People Mesmerized by Holiday Windows in New York City (1900s)


Each year department stores unveil their holiday window displays to admiring crowds. Festive windows have been a tradition in New York City since the 1870s; R.H. Macy, of the retailer Macy’s, is largely credited with having created one of the first Christmas window displays in 1874.

In recent years, gazing into store windows has become almost as much a tradition as the actual buying of gifts, which of course, is the ultimate goal of the windows–to get shoppers in the door. Today, an estimated 15,000 people pass by the store’s elaborate windows every hour during the season.

Shoppers gather around a window, 1900.

Shoppers gather around a window, 1900, New York City. Image: Library of Congress

Christmas shoppers, window shopping, New York, 1900.

Christmas shoppers, window shopping, New York, 1900. Image: Library of Congress

Boy looking at Xmas toys in shop window, 1900.

Boy looking at Xmas toys in shop window, 1900, New York City. Image: Library of Congress

Children looking at Xmas toys in shop window, 1900.

Children looking at Xmas toys in shop window, 1900, New York City. Image: Library of Congress

Christmas toys on display, 1910.

Christmas toys on display, 1910, New York City. Image: Library of Congress

Captivated by Christmas toys, 1910.

Captivated by Christmas toys, 1910, New York City. Image: Library of Congress


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