Historic Macy's Thanksgiving parade marches on for 84th year
Jennifer Palmer is pulling an all-nighter before Thanksgiving.The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade designer must navigate 27 floats from a warehouse studio in Hoboken, N.J., to staging grounds in Manhattan. The floats, engineered to collapse into 8-foot-by-12½ -foot packages, will be loaded into trucks that convoy overnight through the Holland Tunnel. Once on Central Park West, they will be unloaded and assembled — a process that lasts from about 1:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. “If you’re lucky, you can nap 15 minutes,” said Palmer, adding that the end product is worth the sleep deprivation. “The whole city gets behind the event, and you’re just proud of what you do because it’s a beautiful thing to be part of.” At 9 a.m. Thursday, the parade will step off with about 3½ million spectators lining the streets and 50 million more watching on TV. The spectacle will mark its 84th anniversary with 1,600 cheerleaders and dancers, 800 clowns and a roster of celebrity participants. It also will feature 58 gigantic balloons, with new characters such as Kung Fu Panda and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” joining classics such as the Pillsbury Doughboy and Sailor Mickey. The balloons are a favorite of TV personality Melissa Rivers, who’ll be riding a horse in the parade while her mother Joan rides a float. “When am I ever going to get to do something like this again? Not just riding a horse in a parade, but riding a horse in the Thanksgiving Day parade through the streets of New York,” Rivers marveled. The entertainer encouraged fans to see it up close. “The whole spectacle, how they get everything and everyone going in the same direction all at once is always just incredible,” Rivers told amNewYork. “Seeing it on TV just doesn’t do it justice.” Logan Henderson, 21, who stars on the Nickelodeon teen hit “Big Time Rush” and is part of a band of the same name, will be performing in and attending the parade for the first time. “I’m super excited. ... I know it’s going to be a blast,” he gushed. Planning the parade is a year-round process, said executive producer Amy Kule.
“A lot of people believe that we just open up the doors to the parade studio the night before and go, ‘What’s here? Let’s bring them out,’ ” Kule said. She admitted that she’s already plotting for 2026, the parade’s 100th anniversary. “Everyone has a Macy’s parade story,” she said. “It’s generational. It’s a tradition, and it will continue for many, many, many years to come.”
Some stars slated to perform in or attend the parade:
* Gladys Knight
* Kanye West
* Jessica Simpson
* Jimmy Fallon and The Roots
* The cast of Broadway’s “American Idiot”
* Miranda Cosgrove of “iCarly”
* The parade begins at Central Park West and 77th Street, traveling south toward 59th Street.
* It turns east on 59th Street and then south down Seventh Avenue.
* It heads east on 42nd Street and then south down Sixth Avenue, turning west on 34th Street and ending at Seventh Avenue.
Wednesday: 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Watch balloon inflation near Central Park. Enter at 79th Street and Columbus Avenue.
Thursday: 7 a.m. Stake out your parade-watching spot on the route, it gets packed quickly!
9 a.m. to noon: The parade begins at CPW and 77th Street; ends at Seventh Avenue and 34th Street.
Best places to watch
Don’t have a Manhattan balcony to view the spectacle from? Here are some top spots:
* The west side of Central Park West.
* Sixth Avenue between 38th and 42nd streets.
* 59th Street and Seventh Avenue.
* The parade will be broadcast live on NBC from 9 a.m. to noon.
Schedule changes on Thanksgiving
* NYC Transit trains and buses running on a Sunday schedule with some adjustments to bus times
* LIRR running on holiday schedule, but 22 extra trains will be added. Alcohol ban in effect on open containers from 8 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thanksgiving
* Government offices, courts, libraries, public schools closed
* Alternate side parking is suspending, parking meters do not need to be fed
* No garbage or recycling pickup