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“This is probably the most fun I’ve had researching a story,” says Fashion Writer Venessa Lau, who covered Macy’s various movie moments. “I’m a big fan of Old Hollywood to begin with.” Surprisingly, this was her first time watching Miracle on 34th Street—“I’ve only seen snippets on TV here and there”—but she was happy to see one of her favorite films, Auntie Mame, make the cut. “I only wish I could have interviewed Rosalind Russell for this story,” she notes.
This story first appeared in the September 6, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It was love at first sight when Andrew Flynn first made his way down to New York City from Boston more than 30 years ago. His affection for the city has only grown stronger since then, and as far as he’s concerned Macy’s is a large part of the city’s landscape… well, at least a whole city block. As WWD’s Group Art Director, he says it’s a pleasure to work on a project he can feel some personal connection with: “I remember spending whole Saturdays just wandering around Macy’s—it seemed so magical to me. Macy’s was the only credit card I had at the time, and when cash was short, I’d use it to go food shopping. That was back when they had a butcher and it seemed so funny to have so little money and be eating so well.” He still shops there today, only it’s for suits now, not pork chops.
“For as long as I can remember, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been an annual tradition for my family, so it was fun to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the event,” says WWD Media Reporter Amy Wicks, who writes about the unique marketing— including the parade, 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular and Annual Flower Show— that has made Macy’s a part of Americana. “I didn’t realize how many Macy’s employees actually volunteer their time to work the event each year, on what is technically a day off for them. There are so many untold stories behind the parade….Organizers and volunteers are careful to protect the celebrities, but it’s clear that there is enough out there to fill a book.”
Carrie Provenzano, Photo Editor for WWD, can’t remember exactly how many times she’s seen Miracle on 34th Street, but her love for Kris Kringle definitely helped her while working on this Macy’s Milestones issue: “Between thinking that I was Susan Walker growing up and memories of all those Thanksgiving Day Parades I watched at home, I was pretty much in heaven researching this project.” Sifting through thousands of photographs was “a real history lesson for me,” she says. “Now I feel like a regular Ric Burns documentary when it comes to 34th Street between Sixth and Seventh.”
Jean Palmieri has covered Macy’s and its predecessors for more than two decades. From the high-flying Finkelstein era, into bankruptcy and back out again, the company’s ups and downs have provided the Executive Editor of DNR with plenty of bylines over the years. Her dogged pursuit of everything men’s wear has put the spotlight on several executives who have risen to high positions within the company, including Ron Klein, chief executive of Macy’s East, and Jeff Gennette, now heading the San Francisco– based Macy’s West division. “It’s nice to see some of my old men’s wear friends make the leap,” she says.
“My grandmother worked at Macy’s Herald Square in the Sixties managing a jewelry shop on the main floor by the escalator,” says WWD Senior Editor of Retail David Moin. “As a child from Queens, it was incredibly exciting and daunting to emerge from the subway and enter this vast emporium with its incredible array of merchandise —with my diminutive grandmother in the middle of it all. My second-fondest memory was the toy department, where there was actually a magic counter and a magician demonstrating tricks. Today the magician is gone, but on the eve of Macy’s 150th birthday, top executives suggested during interviews that they are on the lookout for new ways to make the stores more compelling and fun.”