Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Welcomes Back Spectators In New York City

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Thousands of people are marching down the streets of Manhattan for the 95th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Last year’s parade was scaled back significantly because of the pandemic, but now it returns in a big way.

READ MORE: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation Celebration Returns On Upper West Side

It’s a Thanksgiving tradition almost as popular as the turkey that follows.

On Wednesday, the crowd grew and grew on the Upper West Side, as people got a sneak peek of the giant balloons.

“I think it’s amazing,” Manhattan resident Gianna Martinez said.

“A lot of my friends said they’re not coming, so it’s going to be a pretty hard brag. I’m going to show off,” said Crismeril Peguro, of Manhattan.

Because of the pandemic, last year’s parade was shortened, and spectators didn’t get to watch the inflation festivities. This year, everyone 12 and older had to show proof of vaccination and wear masks for the Thanksgiving Eve tradition.

There are 15 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 36 novelty and heritage inflatables, 800-plus clowns, 10 marching bands, nine performance groups and, of course, Santa Claus.

Plenty of classics are returning, like the Sinclair Dino, Papa Smurf, Astronaut Snoopy and Ronald McDonald. Six other balloons are making their debut.

“We’re always looking for what’s going to be hot in pop culture,” Macy’s spokesperson Orlando Veras told CBS2. “The parade, over its 95 year history, has always reflected the best pop culture.”

The parade starts at the American Museum of Natural History at 77th Street and heads south three miles to Macy’s Herald Square.

READ MORE: Celebrating ‘Thanksgivukah’: Jewish Americans Looking Forward To Extra Time With Loved Ones During Back-To-Back Holidays

For the balloon handlers, precision and safety go hand in hand.

WATCH: NYPD Thanksgiving Parade Security Presser 

The NYPD is also out in full force — from security checkpoints, to lining the perimeter. Sanitation trucks provide a physical barrier to help prevent tragedies, like what happened at the Wisconsin Christmas parade.

“You’ll see our explosion detection K-9s. You’ll see our heavy weapons and observation teams. You’ll see our bomb squad response teams, as well as radiological and chemical sensors,” said NYPD Chief of Counterterrorism Martine Materasso. “We’ll have over 300 extra cameras deployed along the parade route.”

Quickly after the parade ends, the cleanup begins. One hundred people will use 19 mechanical brooms, 20 hand brooms and 18 backpack blowers, and garbage will then be hauled away in 12 collection trucks.

After the 2019 parade, crews hauled away more than 21 tons of debris.


Parade formation begins at 8 a.m. at the following locations:

  • West 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
  • West 81st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
  • Central Park West between West 77th and 86th Streets

Parade begins at 9 a.m. from Central Park West and West 77th Street and proceeds on the following route:

  • South on Central Park West to Columbus Circle
  • South through E/S Columbus Circle to West 59th Street
  • East on West 59th Street to 6th Avenue
  • South on 6th Avenue to West 34th Street
  • West on West 34th Street to 7th Avenue (dispersal area)

The following streets will be closed for the parade Thursday:

  • Broadway between West 34th Street and West 41st Street- Midnight to 1 p.m.
  • 6th Avenue between West 23rd Street and West 42nd Street – 2 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • 7th Avenue from West 34th Street and West 42nd Street – 2 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • West 34th Street between 6th Avenue and 8th Avenue – 10 p.m. (Wed) to 5 p.m.
  • West 59th Street E/B between 7th Avenue and Central Park West – Midnight to 2 p.m.
  • West 59th Street W/B between 5th Avenue and Central Park West – 2 a.m. to 2 p.m
  • West 35th Street between 5th Avenue and 8th Avenue – 2 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • West 36th Street between 6th Avenue and 8th Avenue – 2 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • West 37th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue – 4 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • West 38th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue – 4 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • West 8th Avenue between 34th Street and 40th Street – 4 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Broadway between 38th Street and 59th Street – 4 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • West 33rd Street between 7th Avenue and 10th Avenue – 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • West 39th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue – 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • West 40th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue – 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • West 49th Street between 5th Avenue and 7th Avenue – 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • West 50th Street between 5th Avenue and 7th Avenue – 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Central Park 65th Street/ West 66th Street Transverse Roads 7 a.m. until conclusion
  • Additionally, from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. vehicles will not be able to access:
    • 6th Avenue between West 33rd and West 59th Street
    • 8th Avenue between West 57th Street and West 59th Street
    • 8th Avenue between West 33rd and West 40th Streets
    • Broadway between West 59th Street and West 57th Street
    • Broadway between West 34th and West 40th Streets (only escorted deliveries)
    • West 42nd Street between 5th and 8th Avenue
    • West 57th Street between 5th and 8th Avenue

For more information on street closures, CLICK HERE.

MORE NEWS: Watch Our Special Presentation ‘Thanksgiving Eve: A Celebration’

For more on MTA service updates, CLICK HERE.

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