This year marks the 85th anniversary of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. If you plan on spending Thanksgiving in New York and enjoying the festivities live, five last-minute tips ensure fun, success and safety.
Know the Thanksgiving Day Parade Schedule
Macy’s plans on starting off the festivities at 9 a.m. and diehard attendees know that jostling for position starts as early as 7 a.m. Participating in the Macy parade are an excess of 8,000 performers. Fortify yourself for approximately three hours of tightly packed standing time as the floats, clowns, assorted ZhuZhu Pets, Mary J. Blige, Mannheim Steamroller and preschool favorite The Fresh Beat Band make their appearances. Warm clothes and comfy footwear are imperative.
Know Where Not to Stand on the Macy Parade Route
It is common knowledge that the parade route will start at Central Park West and 77th Street. It will move toward Columbus Circle, make a turn onto Central Park South and then turn right to proceed down 7th Avenue. Another turn moves marchers to 42nd Street until they reach 6th Avenue. Finishing the last leg of the parade – on the Avenue of the Americas – leads participants to Macy’s at Herald Square. Magic Bullet Media warns that there is no viewing access on 6th Avenue between 34th Street and 38th Street; this is the official telecast area.
$439 Buys a Bird’s Eye View and Breakfast Buffet
If standing in the freezing cold for three hours does not sound appealing, consider buying a ticket to an Aerial View Party. The NYC Ticket Machine offers a spot on the 22nd or 23rd floor of the Sentry Center. Located on 7th Avenue, attendees first enjoy a breakfast buffet starting at 8 a.m. and then have a great view of Columbus Circle. The cost is steep at $439 per person.
Take the Trains
Incoming cars, leaving vehicles, and street closures – plus a couple million of your fellow parade viewers – create gridlock near the parade route. Buses are frequently re-routed and cabs are just as incapable of traversing the roads as other motorists. Your best bets are the trains at Columbus Circle. Lines stopping there include the A, B, C, D and 1. Drive to one of the connecting stations, park your car there and then rely on the trains to get you close to the action.
Pack in Food, Drinks and Necessities
Vacating the area after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has run its course takes quite a bit of time. After two hours jostling for a good spot and another three hours of watching the floats, marching bands and balloons, you will be hungry, thirsty and cranky. Make sure to pack in nutritiously dense snacks, juice boxes or bottled water, trail mix and perhaps a little light reading to pass the time spent waiting for the crowds to lighten. Although there may be some food vendors along the route, there is no guarantee that they will serve what you want – at prices you are willing to pay.