The last time I saw the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in person it was 2011, long before I ever had any idea that I’d someday live in New York City.
My family was celebrating the holiday in Connecticut, but the night before us cousins stayed over at my cousin Blair’s NYC apartment. We woke up early, met up with the “adults” who took the train down from Connecticut, and joined the massive crowds of people on the sidewalk.
It was cold, and we were about eight people deep, so I really only saw the tippy tops of the floats and of course the balloons.
It was a fun experience, and I’m really glad we did it… once.
For subsequent parades, even after I’d moved to NYC, I decided it was best to watch the festivities on TV while wearing sweatpants and covered in a blanket. I didn’t have any interest in braving the crowds, and the cold, ever again.
Then I married a man whose office overlooks the 6th Avenue parade route. That’s not why I married him (I promise!) but it made me want to see the parade in person again… this time with the added luxuries of being inside and not surrounded by people.
Because of anticipated road closures, we arrived at the parade route at 6am. People were already lining up along the temporary railings, relaxing in their chairs and enjoying some of the warmest temperatures in parade history.
Rather than joining them, we headed upstairs to Greg’s office, where Greg, Blair and I staked out the best spot in the north corner, where we could see the parade advance towards us as well as pass by us.
And then we waited… and waited…
And while we waited, we saw more and more people gather on the sidewalk below us until it was absolutely packed.
Then, a little after 9am, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade made its way towards us!
The parade always begins with the Thanksgiving float, topped with a massive turkey.
The wind forecast was so strong that, in the days leading up to the parade, many New Yorkers feared the balloons wouldn’t fly at all. But they still did, albeit a little lower to the ground than usual, and watching the handlers deal with the wind conditions became another entertaining aspect of the parade.
This wind tunnel was a particularly rough one, forcing handlers to use all their strength just to pull the balloons past the intersection!
Our viewpoint of the parade couldn’t have been better… or warmer!
At one point, firemen strolled by accompanied by a man in a full Dalmatian onesie. I mentioned to Blair that Greg owned a onesie just like that, from a Halloween costume where he was the Dalmatian to my Cruella de Vil. Then we looked behind us and realized Greg had disappeared!
By the time he’d reappeared, the Dalmatian was gone… a very suspicious coincidence, if you ask me!
My favorite part of the parade was watching the massive balloons go by. You never quite realize how big they are until you see them in person!
And poor Ronald McDonald had a big injury!
Towards the end of the parade, Thanksgiving makes way for Christmas, and the holiday floats and balloons start arriving.
Then the parade ends, as always, with Santa and his team of reindeer bringing up the rear, marking the official kickoff to Christmas in New York City!
After the parade ended, we hopped on a train to Connecticut to celebrate Thanksgiving with the rest of our East Coast family.
Dinner was fabulous, but meeting my cousin Sarah’s daughter was even better!
We spent the weekend there, doing two of my favorite things:
Dinner at Ella’s in Rhode Island (read the full post here).
And lunch at Ford’s Lobster (read that full post here).
While at lunch, Greg debuted his new (and hopefully temporary!) facial hair that twinned with my Uncle Michael’s!
It was a busy weekend filled with family fun, which are always my favorite weekends!
We had one more opportunity to hang out with Baby S (who apparently also found Greg’s new facial hair questionable), and then it was time to head back to New York City.
For more information on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, click here.
Happy Thanksgiving, from my family to yours.
For all of my Connecticut travel posts, click here.
For all of my Rhode Island travel posts, click here.