Behind the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from Someone on the Street

“Did you see the cast of X perform their act? How did Daughtry sound? “Did Pat Benatar really lip-sync her song? How hot was Eva Longoria?” Yeah, these were the questions that I received during the Parade and the answer to all of them was “Never saw it, that was the TV broadcast.” You know when you go to a live Nationally televised game and it takes longer because of the airing network and the commercials? That is what you get with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I am not dogging the experience we saw because it was killer! Growing up watching it over the years, oh yeah, it was a bucket list item.

First of all, many thanks to the Asian Fireman and his family for inviting us as the NYFD Pipes and Drums were marching in the parade for the first time since it is the 150 anniversary celebration of the NYFD. We scored grandstand tickets so rather than sleeping on the street the night before like a bunch of people did, we strolled up at 7AM and hung out till the parade started. The weather was perfect and you couldn’t have asked for a better day. Here are the top 10 things that I learned from attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

  1. The Parade starts at 9AM from W77th and Central Park West and ends at 7th and 34th Street. The Parade route is roughly 3 miles long and takes 2 hours from start to finish.
  2. We were at 7th and Central Park South (halfway on the crosstown route) and the parade started for us at 9:30 and ended at 11:30. The TV show starts I think at 9AM so all those Broadway Musicals you saw? Those were the filler acts before the floats arrive.
  3. The clowns, roller blade people, float holders, and various parade people – Nicest people in the world, if I heard “Happy Thanksgiving” once, I heard it a million times. Great interaction that you don’t see on TV.
  4. When the clowns come by the barricade they sprinkle confetti on the kids and parents who aren’t paying attention.
  5. Those Floats and Balloons how high are they? Probably the rope from the ground to the bottom of the float was 3 to 4 stories. I imagine they use boom cameras for the visual effects.
  6. The float handlers wear the same colored jumpsuits and they group 3 people around a rope so nobody gets tired. Each float has a “Marshall” that tells them to hurry up or stay in the middle of the street.
  7. Speaking of staying in the middle of the street, did you know that they have to remove all the traffic lights that hang over the street? Any flagpoles that jut out over the street have to come down too. Our office is on 7th @ 37th street and I wondered why they were yanking the flagpoles on Tuesday.
  8. Counter Terrorism Officers and NYPD – Yes they were very present and did I feel scared for my life……I am a fucking New Yorker, I ain’t staying home and letting those jokers win. If Police Commissioner Bratton (who I love by the way) says that it will be safe so “get your coat on Momma, we are going to 59th street!”
  9. The musical acts (except for Cirque du Solei) basically sit on the float and wave to people. The Cirque folks do their act the whole route and even while the float is jumping.
  10. You start the parade with “Happy Thanksgiving” and to the end it changes to “Merry Christmas” and no LVD, Mariah Carey isn’t the end of the parade, it is and always will be SANTA.


Here is the Route, we were on Central Park South (59th Street) near 7th Street siting with our back to the park.

IMG_9648Again, thanks to the Asian Fireman for the Tickets! They were much appreciated.

IMG_9650You do have to get there early (2 hours prior) but at least we didn’t sleep on the street like the people across from us on Central Park South did

IMG_9647We assume that they yank the traffic lights the night prior or there will be all kinds of wrecks around Central Park. Oh Maria, aren’t you happy that the Citi Bike Stand is “Out of Service” when I become mayor….

IMG_9654Street Light look a little Cadi-Wampus? They swiveled the light towards the park so they didn’t have to remove it.

IMG_9655We were right across from the Essex House and I kept wondering what that was…It was a flagpole that got removed.

IMG_9656C-Man got cranky but I don’t blame him, he got woken up at 5AM, gets to see Uncle CBT and Aunt CBT then has to sit in the cold for 2 hours doing nothing waiting on the parade. He took a little nap on Grandma and was fine once the parade started.

IMG_9659Kudos the to the Crowd for the clapping & cheering and thanking the NYPD for their service today.

IMG_9687Here are the Ronald McDonald Float Handlers, all dressed alike so it blends in with the float.

IMG_9745“Hey Ian! Look to your left, that is the World Famous Carbunkle Trumpet and his Smoking Hot Wife!” mutters one of the members of the Pipes and Drums.

IMG_9712It was kind of funny watching the Floats hang a right onto Broadway

IMG_9774Poor Nan didn’t realize she was getting Confetti’d each time the Clowns came

IMG_9678Calling All Cars…Be on the lookout for Hello Kitty riding in an airplane. She was last seen heading south on Broadway from Central Park South.

Again, thanks to the J&E L for letting us horn in on the fun. We had a blast and this is one for the wall. Happy Holidays!


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