While everyone has their own opinion about experiencing events LIVE vs on TV, I must say that I think it depends on the event and who you spend it with.
My 10 yr old daughter and I walked 12 blocks to be a part of the crowd on Broadway watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was cold & rainy but we were prepared and dressed for it (or so we thought). We stood for 1.5 hrs before it began and were cold & tired, but when the Parade started we were both jumping up & down screaming with excitement. My daughter turned to me and said, "This is so exciting! You're dream of seeing the MTDP is finally coming true! Aren't you glad that I'm here with you? I sure am." I nearly cried ... as they say: Cost of 2 day trip to NYC during Thanksgiving $1500. Cost of enjoying a special event for the first time with your daughter, PRICELESS!
FYI ... not all the stars actually stay on their float for the entire duration of the parade. Some will go as far as Columbus Square (where the media is) and then get off, especially if the weather isn't good. Barry Manilow and Sarah McLaughlin both ditched their floats so we weren't able to see them. Hall & Oates looked miserable by the time they were in our area ... again this could be due primarily to the weather. My suggestion is to choose a spot from the starting point of the parade to Columbus Circle, get comfortable, relax & enjoy.