Holiday Windows Unveiling & UNICEF Snowflake Lighting

In spite of a soaking rain, Bergdorf Goodman brought some holiday cheer to Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on Monday evening with the much anticipated unveiling of their holiday windows. This year’s ceremony also included the annual lighting of the UNICEF Snowflake, which hangs majestically over the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street throughout the holiday season.

David Hoey
Photo: Rhonda Erb

David Hoey, Bergdorf Goodman’s Senior Director of Visual Presentation, officially begins working on the store’s holiday windows with his team in January. Although, in actuality, for David, the work begins even sooner, “When we pull the curtain on these (windows), if I don’t know what we’re going to do next (year), I get very agitated and depressed” He and his team of six are never at a loss for inspiration and these days they can consider a broader range of ideas for their annual holiday display, “The themes over the years have become more and more unconventional so we have more freedom”, he says. It doesn’t always have to be a trip to the North Pole. It doesn’t always have to be The Twelve Days of whatever…” it does, however, have to be a theme that can be built upon to create variations for all fourteen store windows (the five main ones face Fifth Avenue).

Window Displays
Photo: Rhonda Erb

“This year, according to David, “ back in January, there was a theme for the whole store that was decided upon — it was the word ‘inspired.” Thus, David seized the opportunity to create this year’s windows around a theme that he has wanted to do for years: “The Arts.” It is, in his opinion, “…a sort of manifestation of inspiration…we could have easily called it ‘Art Appreciation’, which would have been a little bit wittier.”

Photo Rhonda Erb

Each of the store’s five main windows features a different area of the performing, applied or fine arts: literature, architecture, painting, theater and music. The theme continues in the smaller windows with sculpture, film, dance, etc. Some of the windows proved to be more of a challenge than others. “One of them is the most labor intensive window we have ever done, says David, …it’s a window that’s made entirely out of soft sculpture and needle work and needle art. We calculated and there were at least 7,000,000 stitches that went into making it. It’s the red window (literature).”

Photo Rhonda Erb

What makes the holiday windows so special for David and his team at Bergdorf Goodman is the challenge of trying to go further each year. “The glass practically shatters on our holiday windows, there is so much going on”, he says. He feels that each of this year’s windows is special in its own way, but does he have a favorite? He does, but he won’t say which one it is. “You can hear people on the street talking about which one is their favorite, because they’re all so different, and which one they didn’t like. So I don’t want to put any ideas in anyone’s head.”

Photo: Rhonda Erb

After the 2014 holiday windows were unveiled, it was time to light the UNICEF Snowflake. That honor went to actor, UNICEF Ambassador and U.S. Fund for UNICEF National Board Member, Tea Leoni. Tea’s involvement with UNICEF is actually a family tradition. She represents the third generation of her family to work with the organization. Her grandmother Helenka Pantaleoni started the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in 1947 and served as the volunteer president for almost 30 years.

Photo: Getty Images

The Snowflake was designed by Ingo Maurer and consists of 16,000 Baccarat crystals. It is one of New York City’s most visible holiday symbols, “…And I get to flip the switch”, said Tea, “It’s exciting.” As she posed for photos with U.S. Fund for UNICEF President and CEO, Caryl Stern, Tea said that her daughter, West, told her to “get lots of pictures’.

Caryl Stern, Dena Kaye, Tea Leoni , David Hoey and members of Broadway Kids Care, who performed during the ceremony
Photo: Rhonda Erb

Also in attendance at Monday night’s festivities was Dena Kaye, daughter of actor Danny Kaye, UNICEF’s first Goodwill Ambassador. This year marks the 60th Anniversary of his classic film with Bing Crosby, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Bergdorf Goodman and select Neiman Marcus stores will be selling the Diamond Anniversary Edition of the film from Paramount Home Media Distribution throughout the holiday season. The proceeds will benefit the U.S. Fund of UNICEF.

– Rhonda Erb

Better Bets “Daily Bet”

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas Anniversary Celebration

It is a dream come true for fans of the 1954 holiday classic film, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.  Fathom Events and Paramount Home Media are celebrating the movie’s 60th Anniversary by returning it to the big screen in select U.S. Cinemas on December 14th and 15th (in some theatres you will even be able to enjoy stars Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen in all of their splendor on the IMAX). In addition to the film, additional features including backstage stories, original trailers, and a retrospective of the title song will also be included in the event. Tickets are on sale now.

For a complete list of theaters go to:

For more holiday Better Bets visit: 

Rhonda Erb

Rhonda Erb writes about fashion, travel and lifestyle from a New Yorker’s perspective in Better Bets. A self-confessed Instagram addict, her work has also appeared in such publications as Runway Magazine. Follow her at: Instagram: @betterbets Twitter: @betterbetsny tumblr:

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