Pilgrim balloon in 1946. Photo via Macy’s Inc.
There are many famous traditions synonymous with New York City, and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is at the top of that list. The first parade marched down Broadway in the winter of 1924, and in the years since, it’s grown into an event with more than 3.5 million spectators. Though this year’s parade is going to look a bit different, the history behind the festivities and larger-than-life balloons is just as mesmerizing. Ahead, learn all about the parade’s 96 years and see some incredible archival photos.
This way for the full history
Photo courtesy of Macy’s, Inc.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a New York City tradition since 1924. In modern times, the event draws a live crowd of roughly 3.5 million and is made up of 8,000 participants, including performers, marching bands, dancers, and more. But those large numbers of people mean that this year’s pandemic-era parade will look a bit different. Macy’s announced in September that its 94th annual parade will be a television-only presentation with participant capacity reduced by 75 percent, a two-day staging, and balloons being flown by vehicles instead of the usual 80- to 100-person teams that corral each balloon. A New York Times feature today shared the happy news that actors from four shuttered Broadway shows will be performing.
Find out more
Photo courtesy of Estuary
Let’s face it–this year’s Thanksgiving is not going to be what we’re used to. Many of us won’t be able to travel to be with our families or don’t feel comfortable dining in a restaurant. But if cooking’s not your thing (or you’re just too damn exhausted from 2020), there are plenty of local restaurants offering to-go holiday meals. From classic turkey dinners at Bubby’s and The Smith to an affordable, family-friendly option from Sarabeth’s to something a little more avant-garde like Cote’s Korean prime rib meal or Aquavit’s Nordic-inspired menu, we’ve rounded up the best takeout Turkey Day options in NYC.
Hope you’re hungry
Photo by Ethan Covey for Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen
This year has been tough on all New Yorkers, but especially those unemployed, hungry, and experiencing homelessness. While every holiday season is a chance to give back to your community, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has made helping those in need this year more important than ever. Ahead, find out where to volunteer and donate across the city, whether it’s contributing to Thanksgiving food drives, delivering holiday meals, making greeting cards for seniors, or donating to coat drives. Please note, each organization has put in place protocols related to COVID-19 that need to be followed, including mask and social distancing requirements.
Full list here
Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash
Here in NYC, Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo have both advised against traveling for Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. One option is to host a virtual holiday. It won’t be the same, but it’s got its selling points (i.e. no squabbling with your mother-in-law in the kitchen or having dad refuse to turn the game off during dinner); it’ll just take some extra planning in advance. If you have family and friends local, you may want to consider a safe, outdoor meal. But we recommend buying a heater now and figuring out how you’ll keep the food warm. Ahead, we’ve put together a guide to planning a COVID Thanksgiving, no matter how you plan to enjoy the day.
Image by Peter McConnochie via Flickr
Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest travel times across the country and can be especially overwhelming in NYC. With the annual Macy’s parade taking over Manhattan on Thursday (despite a windy forecast threatening the parade’s iconic balloons) and Black Friday frenzy, your commute is sure to be affected whether you’re planning on staying in the city or venturing out. Ahead, we’ve rounded up the service changes that will impact the city’s subways, buses, train service, and more.
Map via Google Maps/Macy’s
It’s almost time for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and with 2.5 miles of public viewing areas along the route this year, anyone eager to claim a good spot should be able to with a little planning. This interactive map put together by the parade organizers outlines the stretches that have the best views as well as all the areas that will be restricted to the public. The map also notes where you can find essentials like restrooms, coffee, and food.
Image by Phil Roeder via Flickr
If you can’t get enough of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you can extend the festivities by attending the yearly Balloon Inflation event that takes place the day before Thanksgiving. On Wednesday, November 27 you’ll be able to see the balloons come to life as they get filled with helium outside the Museum of Natural History. It’s the perfect opportunity to get a first glimpse of the five new balloons debuting this year, including Love Flies Up to the Sky by artist Yayoi Kusama in partnership with Macy’s Blue Sky Gallery series.
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.