Miracle on 34th StreetDec 29th, 2008 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
I wanted to publish this post on Christmas day, but unfortunately ran out of time. Better late than never! Anyway, one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies is the 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street. So, of course, every December while in New York, I drag my boyfriend out to stalk the main filming location used in the movie – the famous Macy’s department store located at the intersection of 34th Street and Broadway.
The Miracle on 34th Street Macy’s, which is also known as the Herald Square Macy’s, is the company’s flagship store. With nine floors and 2,150,000 square feet of shopping space, it has the distinction of being known as “The World’s Largest Store”. In fact, Macy’s takes up almost an entire New York City block! It’s humongous! R.H. Macy first opened the New York branch of his department store on the corner of 14th Street and 6th Avenue in 1858. The store moved to its current location, a nine story building designed by the architecture firm De Lemos & Cordes in 1902. The Palladian style building which houses Macy’s became a National Historic Landmark in 1978 and has one of the only wooden escalators currently still in use.
Both the interior and the exterior of the Herald Square Macy’s were used in the filming of Miracle on 34th Street. In fact, the filming of the movie required more power than Macy’s had on hand, creating the need for additional power sources to be set up in the basement of the department store. Even though filming took place over sixty years ago, I am happy to report that much of both the interior and the exterior of Macy’s are still recognizable from the movie. Besides Miracle on 34th Street, Macy’s was also featured in the 1956 film Lovers and Lollipops, the Beat This: A Hip Hop History television special, and Kanye West’s “Heard ‘Em Say” video. Popular essayist David Sedaris also wrote a short story entitled “SantaLand Diaries” based on his real life experiences working as one of Santa’s elves at the 34th Street Macy’s.
But Macy’s most significant claim to fame would have to be its incredible SantaLand department, which takes up almost all of Macy’s eighth floor during the Christmas season. During the month of December, all of Macy’s nine floors are completely decked out with wreaths, ribbons, and twinkle lights. Walking into Macy’s at Christmastime is like entering a winter wonderland. But nothing quite compares to Santa’s New York home – the place where children of all ages can sit on the real Santa Claus’ lap.
SantaLand has seen quite a few changes since Natalie Wood first visited it and sat on Santa’s lap in Miracle on 34th Street. The modern day SantaLand is a magical holiday wonderland, complete with numerous miniature railroad displays, dancing bears, and talking trees that look like they came straight out of Disneyland. My personal favorite SantaLand character is an animatronic elf who cleans a miniature railroad display case (pictured above). His hand actually goes back and forth wiping the case clean with a red cloth. So cute!!!
I highly recommend stalking the Miracle on 34th Street Macy’s, especially the real Santa Claus and the SantaLand department. There’s nothing else quite like it to get you in the Christmas spirit!
Oh, please Santa, bring me anything from Louis Vuitton!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Miracle on 34th Street Macy’s is located at 151 West 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan.