Opening of the parade; photo courtesy of Macy’s, Inc
It’s turkey time! The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade hits the streets of Manhattan for the 93rd time on Thursday, Nov. 28. Since 1924, the parade has kicked off the holiday season each year with balloons, live performances, and a sense of cheer. If you’re going to be one of 50 million people watching the festivities from home, or joining the crowd of 3.5 million people attending, there are a ton of fun facts and figures to know ahead of time. From the number of marching band members (2,793) to the hours of work put in by Macy’s team pre-parade (50,000), learn the ins and outs of one of NYC’s greatest celebrations, by the numbers.
The full rundown
Photo courtesy of Macy’s, Inc.
Since New York City invented the Holiday Season as we know it, it’s only fitting that this city kicks things off in fine form. Thankfully, the good folks at Macy’s have been doing just that since 1924, when they sent the very first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade sauntering down Broadway. The Parade has been synonymous with Thanksgiving for more than 90 years, and it has more secrets up its sleeve than it has balloons in the air. From “balloonatics” and “falloons” to the only time in history the parade was canceled, here are 10 things you might not know about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Photo by Dana Balding, courtesy of The Smith
The city that never sleeps also doesn’t take a rest for the holidays. Though we tend to assume most businesses are closed on Thanksgiving, in New York City, there are plenty of restaurants keeping their doors open and their ovens full of turkeys. Ahead, we’ve rounded up 40+ places where you can enjoy a holiday meal if you don’t plan on spending the day in the kitchen. From New York classics like Tavern on the Green and the ridiculously cozy Freemans to splurge-worthy picks like Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe to affordable options like Veselka and The Smith to something with a little twist on the traditional like Ginny’s Supper Club’s jazz buffet and pizza spot Emily’s Turbo Turkey Sandwich.
Check out all your options
Photo by Rommel Demano for God’s Love We Deliver
The winter holiday season is a time of overflowing bounty for so many. While giving thanks and exchanging gifts, it’s a fine opportunity to share the wealth, good cheer–and extra time off–with fellow New Yorkers in need. There are hundreds of ways to volunteer from now through the New Year (and beyond), and we’ve rounded up 13 ways to help this year, from meal delivery to serving Thanksgiving dinner to preparing your own putlock dish.
The list, this way
It’s impossible to truly know the history of New York City without understanding the experience of the Native Americans who first inhabited the five boroughs long before Dutch settlers arrived. In November, we celebrate Native American Heritage Month as both a way to learn about the culture and contributions of indigenous people and to reacquaint ourselves with the often distorted history surrounding Thanksgiving. From live performances from Ojibwe artist Kelsey Pyro to enjoying a Lenape Harvest in the city’s largest concentration of forest, these events, festivals, and exhibits help New Yorkers understand just how significantly Native Americans shaped our city.
See the full list
Photo courtesy of Conrad New York Midtown
A new hotel in Midtown is offering the ultimate New York City holiday experience. Conrad New York Midtown has partnered with iconic toy store FAO Schwarz to bring a 1,800-square-foot one-bedroom suite full of toys, including 10-foot stuffed animals, train sets, and of course, the famous dance-on piano. The playful stay does not come cheap; the holiday suite package starts at $3,000 per night.
How to book
Photo by Shinya Suzuki / Flickr
For years, residents and community leaders have called on the city to add pedestrian space near Rockefeller Center to make conditions safer for the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the area during the holiday season to see the tree and store windows. This week, the Department of Transportation privately issued a pilot plan to address the major crowds by increasing pedestrian space on Fifth Avenue between East 48th and East 51st Streets. But Mayor Bill de Blasio quashed the plan before it was officially released, claiming “it was not signed off on by City Hall.”
Photo by Elena Gaillard on Wikimedia
To celebrate Native American Heritage Month, New Yorkers can take a free paddling tour of the Bronx River this weekend while learning about the experiences of 16th-century indigenous communities. Hosted by the Bronx River Alliance and Moskehtu Consulting, the event takes visitors on a 30-minute canoe paddle through the Mitshubishi River Walk in the Bronx Zoo and explores the life and culture of Native Americans with a living village.
How to sign up
Image: Business Wire
Work by Yayoi Kusama, the celebrated contemporary artist who gave us those famous polka-dot pumpkins and insanely popular Infinity Rooms, will be brightening the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Japanese artist’s creation, “Love Flies Up to the Sky,” will be part of the parade’s Blue Sky Gallery, a series of balloons that reflect art from the world’s best-known contemporary artists.
Inflatable art, this way
Some were spooky, others political, all were adorable. The 29th annual Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade took place last Sunday, bringing together hundreds of New Yorkers and their furry friends from all over. While the parade is no longer really a parade nor held at Tompkins Square Park, the event remains one of the year’s best. Photographers James and Karla Murray witnessed first hand the canine costumes and shared with 6sqft photos of the cutest and most creative choices, including the ultimate winners: two Yorkshire terries as Snoopy and the Red Baron.
More dressed-up pups this way