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NEW YORK — Macy’s shut down Broadway between West 34th and 35th Streets and lit up its flagship Monday night, with fireworks shooting off the facade, to celebrate 100 years on Herald Square.
This story first appeared in the September 26, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The biggest store in the world, which opened Nov. 8. 1902, proved it can still throw a big party. And this time, it was for about 700 vendor executives and the hundreds of bystanders who peered from beyond the VIP bleachers and police barricades.
“Macy’s is the largest-running show on Broadway,” said Hal Kahn, Macy’s East chairman and chief executive, in his speech to the crowd. “It’s a challenge for all of us to keep that innovative spirit alive, but I’m confident it will live on. This centennial event is a celebration of the men and women behind Macy’s.”
After cocktails on the main floor, there was an hour-long variety show outside, with a format and spirit similar to the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and celebrities waxing nostalgic about Macy’s Herald Square and it’s landmark status in the city. Then there were several top acts from the Great White Way, including performances by cast members from “Chicago” and “Oklahoma,” Freda Payne and Darlene Love, Judy Kaye and the Camp Broadway kids, Liz Callaway and the Highbridge Voices, as well as an aerial act by Team Antigravity.
There was also a stand-up routine by comic actor Mario Cantone, who quipped about the store having more ups and downs than a 401K, and its 100-year-old wooden escalators. “They’re still working, except, of course, on the days they don’t,” Cantone said.
Walter Cronkite narrated the festivities, Big Bird made a guest appearance, followed by Macy’s Holiday Bears and actor F. Murray Abraham, who has a warm spot in his heart for Macy’s. He said his first job in New York was playing Santa at Macy’s.
“Eighteen years later,” he said, “I won an Academy Award.”