Visitors descend on New York City during the holidays to eat highly suspicious roasted chestnuts from food carts, take in the holiday storefronts along Fifth Avenue, and see some of the most iconic decorations in North America in and along Rockefeller Center.
Between Thanksgiving weekend and New Years Eve, you can view a slew of bigger-than-life-sized art exhibits simply by walking up Avenue of the Americas between 48th and 52nd Streets. The tradition started during the Depression and became solidified as an annual event in 1933 when the plaza at 30 Rock first opened. Since then, an array of decorations have been added to the plaza and now bleed out to the rest of the buildings in the Rockefeller Group, running along Sixth Ave. Some of the works out this year have been on display for decades, finding themselves the background scenery in movies and TV shows, while others are relatively new additions.
1221 Ave of the Americas: The MacGraw-Hill Building
LED Holiday Lights
This larger-than-life-sized decoration was conceived by American Christmas CEO Fred Schwam and CCO Kent Fritzel. It is a reimagining and greened-up version of the old C9 outdoor holiday lights the duo designed that were on display at 1271 Ave of the Americas, the Time/Life building, starting back in 1997. Schwarm says that the “a-ha” moment in designing the original came when he and Fritzel looked over a set of C9 lights, your traditional oval-shaped outdoor holiday lights, and thought to themselves, “What if that were the display design?” After the original was retired in the mid-2000s, the MacGraw-Hill Building commissioned a new display that was in line their new green building initiative. The new LED light design debuted in 2009.