LOCAL NEWS

What will happen to Seattle Macy’s iconic holiday star?

Oct 1, 2019, 11:30 AM | Updated: Oct 2, 2019, 7:27 am
Macy's downtown Seattle...
Macy's holiday star in downtown Seattle. (Tracie Howe, Flickr Creative Commons)

UPDATE: Macy’s previously stated that it will transfer the holiday star to the new owners of its downtown property, “to inspire the reimagined star for 2020.”

Late Tuesday, Macy’s vice-president of media relations Andrea Schultz rejected speculation that the star had already been disposed of, but denied KIRO Radio’s request to see the star in person or see current photos. Regarding KIRO Radio’s questions about where the star is currently is being stored, and what it might cost to repair in time to be displayed for the 2019 holiday season, Schwartz wrote:

“I appreciate your desire to see the star and your request for additional information. However, as we are in the process of a sale there is nothing further that we can offer at this time.  While the star is unfortunately in disrepair and is not usable, I can reassure you that the star is being safely transferred, along with the research that has been conducted, to the new property owners who will reimagine and rebuild to continue the star tradition in 2020.”

Meanwhile, KIRO Radio will attempt to identify the new property owners to contact them to gauge their interest in preserving the old star (rather than creating a new one), and will continue to seek Macy’s further cooperation in fully understanding the current whereabouts and condition of the old star.


The classic downtown Seattle holiday star has been on display for decades each Christmas season, situated on the side of the Macy’s department store on 4th Avenue and Pine Street. Now, though, its fate could be very much up in the air.

Report: The downtown Seattle Macy’s is closing

The Seattle Times first announced on Saturday that Macy’s would be closing its nearly century-old downtown store in February 2020. The article also mentioned that the old holiday star – a fixture of downtown holiday celebrations since the 1950s – would not be displayed this year, because it was “in need of repairs.”

I received emails and Facebook messages from KIRO Radio listeners over the weekend suggesting that I look into the feasibility of the star being repaired, so that it could be displayed this year (which would be the final holiday season for Macy’s at that location).

I was fortunate to meet the late Bob James, designer of the star, and produce a profile of him for the Seattle Channel during the star’s 50th anniversary in 2007.

With gathering information about the star’s condition in mind, I left phone messages and then exchanged emails Tuesday morning with Andrea Schwartz, Macy’s Chicago-based vice-president of media relations.

Schwartz asked me to put my questions in an email. I said the following:

I’m interested in learning as much as possible about the condition of the current star–so these would be my specific questions:

Where is it currently located?
What repairs are necessary?
How long might the repairs take?
What is the estimated cost of the repairs?

Also, I’d love to be able to get a look at it in person, if possible, and speak with any vendor(s) who might have already taken a look to assess its condition, estimate the cost of repair, etc.

Several listeners have reached out to me over the past few days to ask these kinds of questions, and I’m not yet committed to doing a story until I learn more.  It feels to me as if there is a definite possibility that some kind of “Save The Star” campaign might emerge. Seattle, as you probably know, is in a phase of massive change lately with many local icons going away–and local people love local traditions like the Macy’s star, and the idea of it not being on display this year has definitely touched a major nerve across Seattle and King County, and many demographics, near as I can tell.

Seattle Center accidentally trashes historic gargoyles

Schwartz responded:

As you know, Macy’s has announced the sale of its store and will close Feb 2020.  There is not much more to say.  However, the new property owner has committed to displaying a reimagined star for the Seattle community to enjoy beginning next year. Again, thank you.

The complete disregard of my fairly innocuous questions, and use of the phrase “There is not much more to say” is what got me speculating that the iconic holiday star may have already gone to the dump. Perhaps it was a mistake, or was related to construction in the old Macy’s building, that now has other tenants in the upper floors.

When disassembled, it’s possible that the star just looks like a pile of metal and light bulbs. Again, this is speculation on my part.

I’ll have more tomorrow on Seattle’s Morning News.

More from Feliks Banel

Local News

Washington voting...
Nick Bowman

Washington weighs significant changes to how (and when) it votes in 2022

A trio of proposals related to how Washington conducts its elections could bring dramatic voting changes to the state by the end of the legislative session.
18 hours ago
Paine Field 5G...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

5G concerns, fog lead to more cancellations at Paine Field

More Alaska Airlines flights out of Paine Field were cancelled Thursday, citing issues created by the combination of 5G signals and fog.
18 hours ago
catalytic converter...
MyNorthwest Staff

Competing proposals for catalytic converter theft crackdown up for Thursday vote

Competing proposals from Democrats and Republicans to crack down on catalytic converter thefts are set for committee votes on Jan. 27.
2 days ago
Gov. Jay Inslee, long-term care tax...
MyNorthwest Staff

Gov. Inslee approves 18-month delay on long-term care tax

The Washington State Senate voted to delay implementation of the new long-term care payroll tax on Wednesday. 
2 days ago
Rideshare companies...
Nick Bowman

Rideshare companies pour millions into PAC ahead of push for Washington ballot initiative

Rideshare companies have poured over $2 million into a new PAC, in what appears to be the precursor for a Washington ballot initiative. 
2 days ago
MyShake, earthquake...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Earthquake early warning app now available in Washington

Washington residents can now download MyShake, an earthquake early warning app, and get extra seconds of warning before the ground shakes.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
What will happen to Seattle Macy’s iconic holiday star?