In 1954-56, shortly after they filmed Miracle on 34th Street, my father was the manager of the Fifth floor of Macy’s Herald Square. At that time, his floor, an entire New York city block, had only two departments: Toys and Sporting Goods. My Dad. I don’t recall making a big enough fuss over that with my friends.
The 5th Floor was where Santa Clauses listened. Not just The Santa Claus, because there had to be more than one to handle the crowds. So there was a maze which the kids wound through, subdivided into many queues. My dad hired the Macy’s Santa Clauses. 9 full time, 5 part time and 4 Saturday-only.
My dad was very high up in planning the Thanksgiving Day Parade. The first planning meeting was the Monday after Thanksgiving. It would have been the day after Thanksgiving, but that was their biggest day of the year. In 1955, I think it was, the union men who walked with the ropes that held down the big balloons threatened to walk off the job, without the balloons. My dad was one of the executives assigned to walk along with each teamster to avert disaster. Sitting in the VIP bleachers, I was proud of him, standing ready to spring into action to save Mighty Mouse from disposal by the irresponsible union men who would not be content with the fair terms that nice men like my dad arranged for them.
Macy’s looks much the same and it even has some of the funky old wooden escalators installed by Otis, probably in the 1920s. But toys aren’t as profitable as clothes and perfume, which they annoyingly spray in your face on the first floor. Macy’s has become a real estate deal, with many departments rented to the brands they sell.
But that’s not how it was in Kid Heaven. Happy Thanksgiving.