MACY’S AS WINTER ENTERTAINMENT in Chicago

December 23, 2019

A weekend trip to Chicago  during the Christmas season  proved to be  just what I expected – Chicago is COLD and the WIND chills  to the core, no matter how many layers you don.  But I discovered Macy’s on State Street, with its 9 floors,  is a wonderfully warm  place to spend the greater part of the day.  And,  other than  paying for my  wonderful lunch, I did not spend a dime.

My 1st stop was, of course, the food floor.  What more can I say?  Looking at yummy food is always fun!

But before I go on, first a bit of history.  The building opened in 1893 as Marshall Field’s Department store.   Macy’s  acquired the building and renamed it Macy’s in 2006.   My next stop was  to assess just  how enormous this store was ( looking up  from the main floor )  and to see what makes this building so grand.

Looking up from  the 1st-floor cosmetics department is the  distant view of a shimmering  mosaic dome ceiling  covering  6,000 square feet and made up of  1.6 million pieces of iridescent glass.  The  ceiling was designed by  Louis Comfort Tiffany and is the largest Tiffany mosaic in existence.   It took 18 months and 50 artisans  atop scaffolds to complete the project.

A Tiffany lamp hangs from the mosaic ceiling.

Due to many  non-working elevators and escalators, I soon realized it would be easier to start at the top of  this department store and walk  my way down, as I could more easily  walk down non-functioning escalators  rather  that walk up.   Yes – at least half of the  transportation modes  between floors were in a state of  closure and repair  that day.  But I guess that is to be expected  in a building this old.   I waited 20 minutes for an elevator to take me to the top floor.  The elevator, as the store, was packed with people. 

The  joyful greetings  at  the top floor were  all about Christmas!  Lots of gorgeous, festive  Christmas trees!  Millions of  Christmas ornaments!  Thousands of   Christmas decorations!   Most with a price tag.  Enjoy for free but if you fall in love with it, 99%  of it could be bought.

The Walnut Room restaurant was also on this floor with it’s beautiful  45 ft  Christmas tree with 15,000 lights and 1200 ornaments.  The restaurant opened in  1907  and was  the very first restaurant in a department store.  It is also the longest continuously-operating restaurant in the nation.  The  walnut paneling is over 100 years old,  Austrian chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and there is a  17 ft  fountain.  Not a seat was empty.

Now  back to shopping – if you need a  near-life-sized  stuffed deer or fawn for your holiday decorating,  one was readily available at the cost of $800.    (That was the price for the fawn).

My favorite was this nutcracker with his polar bear friends.  But, alas, I had to leave him behind as I was taking the Amtrak back home and couldn’t fathom how I would manage.

 

Having warmed back to a survivable body temperature now, I was prepared to go outside and see the 2 identical  massive  Great Clocks on the outside of the Macy’s building.    Each clock is made of 7¾ tons of cast bronze and hangs from ornamental ironwork.

Macy’s  delightful  holiday window displays were next …

each one…

as cute as the next !!  ” Believe in Wonder” was the theme.

 

On the way to lunch, I discovered the  22  “American Victorian Stained Glass” pieces  that are on permanent display in the  the Chicago Pedway next to Macys.   The artworks  were created between 1880 and 1910 for homes and public buildings.  This piece was designed and fabricated by John Mallon in 1881.  The photo comes nowhere near to the beauty of it  in person.

Then, after an absolutely wonderful lunch ( at a reasonable price)  in Macy’s  lower level food court of delicious, hot and generous portions of  Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and green beans, I waddled back to the hotel enjoying  some of the  high-rise sights of Chicago and still, freezing cold all the way.

Merry Christmas!!

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed!!

 

“Once the travel bug bites, there is no known antidote and  I know I  shall be happily   infected  until the end of my life.”   Michael Palin

 

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