Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - It's Better On TV!!

By
Home Stager with Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island

For anyone who watches the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade each year and wishes that they could go, I want to share a true story with you....

I live on the north shore of Long Island - about an hour's drive or train ride from Manhattan.  We watch the parade every year - it's a tradition in our house.  I actually use the parade to help time my dinner preparations!

Back in the late 80's when my kids were younger, we decided that we wanted to go to the city and watch the parade 'in person'.  First of all, we forgot that the parade doesn't actually start at 9am (EST) - well it does, but that's all the way uptown on Central Park West in the West 70's and we were going to stand down by Macy's itself (34th Street). 

So we left the house at 5:30 am and took the train in so we wouldn't have to hassle with gridlock and parking.  The kids loved the train ride anyway because they rarely 'rode the rails' (as the commuters here say).  We got into Penn Station a little before 7 am and grabbed some coffee, hot chocolate for the kids and lots of Dunkin' Munchkins.  We walked up and over a block to 34th Street and 6th Avenue (the parade route).  Since there were bleachers for the VIPs in front of Macy's itself and television cameras and crew situated directly across from it, we had no choice but to walk up 3 blocks to an area that only had a few people already standing on the sidewalk.

And did I mention that it was the coldest day of the year?  Well, we lucked out a little because we picked a spot at the curb directly in front of a subway grate (which equals a miniscule amount of heat, but that was better than nothing!)  We settled in and started drinking our warm beverages and eating munchkins.  And we were happy!

The crowd of spectators grew as we ate and before you knew it, our area was 6 deep from curbside to storefront.  We finished our 'breakfast' and craned our necks to see what was going on down by Macy's.  You couldn't see much, so the police activity became our source of amusement while we waited for the parade to work its way down to us.

The kids started whining...."We're cold!" "I can't feel my feet anymore" "When is the parade going to start?" and then the best..."I have to go to the bathroom!" 

Oh, wonderful....where am I going to find one of those?!  I looked around to see where I might be able to take this child, but all you could see were people!   I told my husband that I would do this tour of bathroom duty and to hold our place.  As I turned to work my way through the crowd, the other two chimed in that they 'had to go' too!  My husband looked at me and said, "we'll all go". 

If you have ever been in gridlock, you know how slowly you move.  Well, people gridlock is almost worse because you really can't move...at least not at a parade!  No one wants to lose their position, so they are not very gracious about letting you get by!

It must have taken 15 minutes to go up 2 blocks, but we lucked out and found a Korean Grocery Store that was open.  We must have really looked bedraggled at this point because the owner took pity on us and allowed the kids to use the restroom.  We bought some gum as a way of saying 'thanks' and went back to the street. 

The parade had begun, but all we could see were the high-flying balloons!  There was no way to get a better view and we were in a 'walking lane' on the sidewalk, so we went with the other pedestrians.  When we got to the corner and could see that there was no way that we were going to be able to see the entire parade, we made a collective decision to get the heck out of there and go out to eat.

After walking down to 5th Avenue, we were able to hail a cab.  We took it to the one place that we knew we would get a great meal....Chinatown!  I know, 'rah, rah, rah, rah, rah...rah rah rah rah'!  We were like the family from A Christmas Story - displaced, hungry and eating Chinese food on a major holiday! 

Once we were warm and had full bellies, we started finding the humor in the whole situation.  And besides, as the kids pointed out, we had our brand new VCR recording the parade, so we could all sit and watch it together when we got home.

Except for one thing....when I set the timer for 9...I did PM instead of AM! 

We have watched the parade from home every year since!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING ALL!

 

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Rainer
147,934
Marc Blasi
Palm Beach Gardens, FL

OK - I'll be the one to stick my neck out!

The best way to see that parade is to be AT THE PARADE!

I haven't gone for a long time, but I think it's time to start planning for next year!

Nov 18, 2006 10:26 AM #15
Rainmaker
93,471
Bill Sauneuf
Preview Properties Skagit LLC - Mount Vernon, WA
Going to the parade should be done at least once... There's nothing like actually being there, but you'll see a lot more of the parade on TV...
Nov 18, 2006 11:45 AM #16
Rainer
434,914
Scott Daniels Florida Real Estate 2.0. Agents Earn 100% Commission.
Florida List For Less Realty, Inc. Broker/Owner. - Cooper City, FL

I enjoy letting my childern see the Parade. We do it every two years. I love the tree at 30 Rock, now that`s always a wonderful attraction.

Watching the parade on TV seeing with my childern is always a wonderful thing!

Enjoy The Holiday.

Nov 18, 2006 11:54 AM #17
Rainmaker
338,328
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX By The Bay - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Val, great story!

I can remember watching Macy's Parade on TV every year .  My sisters and I so looked forward to that part of TV on Thanksgiving Day.  Thinking back on it, I wonder if we loved it so much because it was total football for the whole rest of the day, or because we really loved it all by itself?????

I still turn on the Macy's Parade on Thanksgiving morning every year.   ;-)

Ann Cummings

Nov 18, 2006 12:33 PM #18
Rainer
31,768
Eli Magen
New World Mortgages,(Mortgage Company) - Orlando, FL
I like parades...I've lived in NY 1988-1992 and I don't remember missing too many.
Nov 18, 2006 12:41 PM #19
Rainmaker
40,751
Gina Dougherty
Fusion Design Consulting - Redondo Beach, CA
Home Staging Redondo Beach, CA- FusionDesignConsulting.com
I love this story Val, it's especially great how you really made the best of it.  I have never attempted a parade in person, I am definitely a "sofa spectator"!
Nov 18, 2006 12:41 PM #20
Rainer
31,180
Jessica Hughes
Ambiance Staging - Boulder, CO

Thanks for the funny story Val

You know, I've never seen the Macey's parade.  Well, maybe 5 minutes here or there along the years.  Maybe this year......

Nov 18, 2006 02:58 PM #21
Rainer
5,663
Kerri Brencsons
Lift Interiors LLC - Scotch Plains, NJ

I live in NJ and have a cousin who designs some of the floats for the parade. Every year he tells us we should come with the kids and I have reservations that maybe their too young or its too cold and now you have convinced me to stay away yet again!! Thanks for the warning. The couch sounds good to me.

Nov 18, 2006 03:18 PM #22
Rainmaker
155,051
Home Design
Alpharetta, GA
Home Design and Real Estate
With HDTV now, whats the point of going anywhere?  LOL
Nov 19, 2006 12:27 AM #23
Rainer
15,176
Joanne Brown
Rockland County Real Estate - Nanuet, NY

Sorry guys, I'm with Marc on this one.  Lived in New York City for most of my life.  My mother took me to see them as a little kid, attended New Years, St. Patricks and Thanksgiving parades and gotta say TV just doesn't do it.  I guess you have to love New York as much as I do to really appreciate the excitement of being an up front spectator.  It's not just the parade but the "life" of the city at these times.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Nov 19, 2006 01:56 AM #24
Rainmaker
382,146
Suzanne Marriott
Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Anthem, AZ
Associate Broker, CLHMS, e-PRO
A good view from the comfort of the couch beats jostling in a crowd any time in my book!
Nov 19, 2006 02:04 AM #25
Rainmaker
229,771
Craig Schiller
Trempealeau, WI

VAL...

Are there turkey scrooges? Cause I think I just read a post from one.

I always watch the parade. (OK I don't watch all of it... I have in on in the background.) Anyway, I always had a strong urge to go to it and see it.

You just dumped on my parade....

But now that I think of it, that's OK. Macy's just came to Chicago and KILLED OFF the Marshall Field's name.  THOSE DOGS!

ME

Nov 19, 2006 02:13 AM #26
Rainmaker
2,178,549
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ
Personally I'm not a parade watcher - and for almost all viewing - am a time shifter.  Bring on the turkey!  Happy Thanksgiving!
Nov 19, 2006 02:35 AM #27
Rainer
135,710
Phyllis Pafumi
ReStyled to Sell Home Staging New Jersey - Old Bridge, NJ
ReStyled to Sell Staging Homes NJ

Val Kudos for you for trying...I personally love hearing it on TV while I am in the kitchen cooking but my second traditional fave on Thanksgiving ever since I was a little girl is to watch The March of the Wooden Soldiers (da, da, da, da, da, da, da-da-da) Oh Tom Tom yes Bo Peep...Staying home and watching it all on TV is the BEST...Happy Thanksgiving

Phyllis

Nov 19, 2006 12:12 PM #28
Rainer
196,330
Judy Kincaid
Tampa, FL

Val,

I spent many a New Years Day at the Orange Bowl Parade in Miami and even spent a New Years Eve sleeping on the sidewalk in Pasadena to secure a spot for the Tournament of Roses Parade.  The only one left on my "must see" list was the Macy's Day Parade....but, after reading your blog, that desire is now as flat as those balloons the day AFTER the parade!  Thanks for enlightening me!

Nov 19, 2006 02:37 PM #29
Rainer
264,093
Ginger Sala
Wilkinson & Associates, Wilmington NC - Wilmington, NC
Wilmington NC Real Estate & Relocation~

Maureen,

You just got to have some fun in the Big Apple!

Your asignment if you choose to accept it:

Visit at least 3 NYC landmarks in 2007.

Empire State,

Metropolitan Museum

Ride through Central Park in a horse drawn Carriage!

And it will be a good blogging story too!

 

Nov 19, 2006 03:26 PM #30
Rainer
5,415
Crisanna Favreau
EXIT First Choice Professional Realty, Inc. - Framingham, MA

Hi Val,

I just posted my own blog with great excitement that my 11 yr old daughter and I were going to drive to NYC from MA to finally see the MTDP Live!  I've watched it on TV for 40+ yrs and want to experience it firsthand with my daughter.  We enjoyed NYC last time we went ... the crowds are crazy but you go there knowing & prepared for that.  Where to find a potty is definitely a good question that needs to be answered.  We are going to watch them blow up the balloons Weds night and will enjoy the parade as much as possible.  Hopefully we will have a better experience than you & your family did.  Thanks for sharing.

Nov 20, 2006 04:21 AM #31
Rainer
146,682
Maureen Maureen
Orangeburg, NY
Ginger and Roger - I'm going to accept your challenge.
Nov 20, 2006 07:04 AM #32
Rainer
264,093
Ginger Sala
Wilkinson & Associates, Wilmington NC - Wilmington, NC
Wilmington NC Real Estate & Relocation~

Maureen,

Ok You will be glad you did! Don't forget to bring your camera!

Nov 21, 2006 04:41 PM #33
Anonymous
Karen from Connecticut

They night before the parade is fun because you can walk down the streets and view the balloons being blown up.  Also,  the Saturday before the actual parade, the town of Stamford, CT.  runs the same parade without the celebrities.  It the same balloons , they try them out for this parade.  Not half as crowded as NYC.  Also,  we went once to NYC.  I would not bring small children but for older children that like to see the real celebrities up close it worth it.  I recommend staying over the night before.  Happy Holidays!!!!!!

Nov 26, 2008 08:26 AM #34
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Val Allocco

HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island
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