Charlap Hyman & Herrero Handcraft Some Very Gay Holiday Decor

Charlap Hyman & Herrero

On Wednesday, the New York and Times Square EDITION hotels debuted their 2023 holiday collab “New Yorkiana” with playful tree installation at the hotel’s properties adorned with handcrafted watercolor ornaments created by the award-winning architecture firm Charlap Hyman & Herrero. “I think New York is suffering from a lack of weirdos,” designer Adam Charlap Hyman tells our senior editor over a cocktail at the hotel group’s Gramercy location. “So I wanted to pay homage to some of the great weirdos that make the city so special.”


TAYLORE SCARABELLI: Can you tell me about your holiday decorating philosophy? 

ADAM CHARLAP HYMAN: The half of my family that’s orthodox is so grateful that my mom is Spanish Catholic and has brought Christmas into our lives. Our decorating philosophy is all out and as many flammable things and little villages as possible and a lot of handmade ornaments. And we make Christmas crackers that explode and garlands with cookies on them and we make molded chocolate fish.

SCARABELLI: Wow. I want to come to your house.

CHARLAP HYMAN: It’s a lot of Christmas decorations. Little did the EDITION know when they asked that I was highly prepared for this conceptual assignment. Do you want a tour of the tree?

SCARABELLI: Yes please!

CHARLAP HYMAN: It’s called “New Yorkiana” because it’s all these different little things that we love about New York places and people. So, there’s a WilliWear tag.

SCARABELLI: A deep cut for the fashion girls.

CHARLAP HYMAN: There’s Times Square and an oyster.


Charlap Hyman & Herrero

CHARLAP HYMAN: There’s shrimp enjoying champagne on New Year’s at Julius. A little Noguchi playground. The Flatiron Building in a snow globe. A big, big Christmas fish thing, it’s a lobster with a bow on it. Then there’s a Father Christmas as a pine cone enjoying a coffee. Two apples making out. A little star with a face. There’s a caroling candle. There’s the Alice Austin House in Staten Island. She was a pretty iconic lesbian writer.

SCARABELLI: What did she write?

CHARLAP HYMAN: She did a lot of poetry, but actually she’s most really known for bringing together a community of other women who were writers that all lived at her house in Staten Island, in Victorian times.

SCARABELLI: That’s cool.

CHARLAP HYMAN: And we have a couple other important ones. Come over here. There’s an eye painting by my mom.


CHARLAP HYMAN: This is Greta Garbo, walking away from the paparazzi in Midtown. My favorite. She was always photographed from the back or with a scarf over her face because she was so reclusive.

SCARABELLI: Her back is iconic. Who illustrated all of these?

CHARLAP HYMAN: So, it was a team effort. The one that I wanted to show you was Qween Jean who, oh, she’s up there as a poinsettia, which is great.

SCARABELLI: Who is she?

CHARLAP HYMAN: She’s a trans activist who was doing a lot of amazing stuff during Black Lives Matter and really disrupting the street life in New York. And she is just an amazing orator and she’s here somewhere now.


CHARLAP HYMAN: Yeah. So, we did all of these in the office and basically the way it worked is we made a big brainstorm of all these different people and places that we wanted to include just for fun. And then I did drawings of a lot of these things, which are kind of inspired by Victorian Christmas cards and stuff like that. And then we made a little, almost like a conveyor belt in the office. So, I was drawing with pen and then Isabelle and Grace were watercoloring them in.

SCARABELLI: I love it.

CHARLAP HYMAN: Thank you. Then another designer in the office was tying all the bows, which are all made out of old ribbon from the fifties, which I found in an antique store in Connecticut. 

SCARABELLI: Dead stock?

CHARLAP HYMAN: Yeah. And there’s a big shell with a bow tree topper because New York is a port city. I wanted to remind people that we’re connected to the sea.

SCARABELLI: There’s a lot of seafood, sea creatures.

CHARLAP HYMAN: There’s a lot. There’s the fish that you eat on Christmas, and in general, I just love seafood. And New York has a lot of fishes and snails and, well, not lobsters, but you know what I mean.

SCARABELLI: [Laughs] Which one of these creatures do you identify with the most?

CHARLAP HYMAN: The snail that’s being ridden by a mouse with a little charm.

SCARABELLI: That honestly might be my favorite.

CHARLAP HYMAN: Oh, well I have to give you one. Also, the EDITION made a special holiday cocktail that they serve at this time of year and the proceeds from that go to an organization of our choice. So we chose Office Hours. They organize seminars about architecture and design and urban planning and provide open access for BIPOC people. They have amazing speakers and art designers, curators, and it’s all free. And I just think it’s such a cool, good idea.

SCARABELLI: I love it. That must be the cocktail that I’m drinking. It’s tasty.

Charlap Hyman & Herrero