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Fifth Avenue Association Making Use Of Empty Storefronts In Epic Holiday Window Display

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As the holidays approach, stores along Fifth Avenue perfect displays and prepare for that Black Friday rush. This year, however, even the empty storefronts are participating

The iconic Manhattan thoroughfare is a destination for shopping, food, and, around this time of year, over-the-top holiday windows, CBS2's Cindy Hau reported Wednesday.

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But this year, for the first time, Fifth Avenue Association president Jerome Barth said his group is trying something new by adding life and color to vacant storefronts with holiday displays. The theme is "New York Nostalgia."

Fifth Avenue holiday windows
The Fifth Avenue Association is going with a "New York nostalgia" theme in 2019. (Photo: CBSN New York)

"Fifth Avenue is the world's most famous shopping destination and it comes to life in its fullest during the holidays," Barth said. "We chose this classic theme to offer our visitors the same sense of wonder they experienced when discovering Fifth Avenue's windows for the first time as children, and to share this joy with their friends and family."

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Four large vacant storefronts were decorated by designer Mark Briggs, and unveiled Tuesday night. In the windows of the former Henri Bendel flagship sits an abstract city-scape. Presents are piled sky-high in what used to be Tommy Hilfiger. A gingerbread skyline adorns the former Massimo Dutti shop, and in the former Polo Ralph Lauren sits a New York City covered in white.

"It's not easy to touch the millions of people who come here during the holiday season, but this allows you to give them something that's both in keep with the spirit of the avenue and at scale when walking by," Barth said.

Visitors, of which there are expected to be 750,000 per day during the holidays, have already taken notice.

"We were walking up looking for windows and we were commenting how clever they were and both of them seemed to be empty, which was ... our next thought was what is this about?" tourist Carol Marshall said.

"It's charming. It's festive and creates some interest, rather than just a dark space," said Alan Nachman, who was visiting from Michigan.

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The must-see displays will remain up until Jan. 5. They are currently on view at the following locations:

• 714 Fifth Ave. (between 55th and 56th streets)
• 711 Fifth Ave. (between 55th and 56th streets)
• 689 Fifth Ave. (between 54th and 55th streets)
• 681 Fifth Ave. (between 53rd and 54th streets)

"While visitors may recognize a common thread between this collection of four, our goal is to join our members, and the city overall, in celebrating the overarching narrative that comes alive during the holidays through all the extraordinary windows on Fifth -- one of wonder, cheer and the magic of the season," Barth said.

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