Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is as much a part of Thanksgiving Day as the turkey and pumpkin pie. When I decided to go to New York City for Thanksgiving this year to see the parade, I had no idea what would transpire. I had just begun talking to Sande Caplin about doing music articles for the Sarasota Post. I decided to try to get a press pass to shoot the parade figuring either way, I will still be there. After about a week, a Macy’s rep emailed me and said I was approved!! I couldn’t believe I was about to experience the Macy’s parade from the press platform.
It takes two days physically for New York City to get ready for the parade, although they are working on it all year round. On Wednesday, they start blocking off the streets and have the big balloon inflation. The balloon inflation is done on 77th Street and Central Park West around the Museum of Natural History. It was raining and cold this year but there were thousands of people there to see this Thanksgiving Eve tradition.
On Thanksgiving morn, I was up around 5 am and looked out my hotel room window to see New Yorkers on the street and on the move to get a spot at the parade. I was told to be at the press platform by 7:45. As I walked down 6th Ave, the street was already lined with thousands of people. It was about 35° and people were bundled up. There were about a dozen of us for the press platform. Among the photographers were Yahoo, Naked Mag and our neighbors, Nassau Bahamas Bureau of Tourism who were there for the Bahamas Marching Band!
The view from the platform is amazing. Looking up and down 6th Avenue seeing the thousands of people on the street. The characters from Times Square were also on 6th Avenue taking pictures with kids. Batman, Iron Man, Minnie and Mickey in the crowd along with your usual cast of New York City characters. The parade starts at 77th Avenue and makes it way down 6th Ave around 9:30 a.m. starting with the Thanksgiving Turkey! As the parade starting coming down 6th Avenue people were screaming and jumping up & down.
Among this years celebrities in the parade were KISS, Nick Jonas, Idina Menzel, Cicely Tyson, Rhonda Fleming and Meghan Trainor. The excitement of the crowd for the balloons and people marching on the street is incredible. Thousands of clowns and costumes along with the hundreds of people carrying the balloons along with route. As I watched this spectacle, the thought that this is the “biggest parade in the world” came to mind but it also had the feel of any hometown parade you have ever been to. People having fun, kids watching with wonder, me being one of them!
Thank you Sarasota Post, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and New York City!
Vicky Sullivan / Rock The Lens Photos