While New Yorkers may share several Thanksgiving traditions with other Americans across the nation — among them turkey, pumpkin pie and football — there’s one thing they can own: the biggest holiday celebration.
Macy’s 89th Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade will, once again, transform the Upper West Side and midtown into a cheerful, colorful route for the thousands of marchers, and the dozens of floats and iconic giant balloons. About 3.5 million spectators are expected to line the streets and organizers plan a fresh spin on the classic show.
The parade begins at Central Park West at and makes its way south to 59th Street. The marchers turn east to Sixth Avenue before finishing up outside Macy’s on 34th Street. Those streets and nearby blocks will be closed to car traffic from 8 a.m. to about 2 p.m.
Of course, the parade’s biggest draw is the 17 giant character balloons and 24 smaller floating personalities. Staples include Hello Kitty, Snoopy and Woodstock, SpongeBob and the Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, the biggest balloon at 78 feet long.
Four new balloons will join the team: Angry Birds’ Red, Sinclair Oil Corporation’s DINO,”Ice Age’s” Scrat and his acorn and a new version of Ronald McDonald.
Those humans taking part in the parade will also put on a good show. Some 8,000 marchers from around the country will take the streets, including bands and cheer squads.
The NYPD’s marching band and African folk dancing troupe Brooklyn Jumbies will be among the local talent marching.
As much as the parade has always attracted the crowds, it’s also a draw for big name celebrities. Pat Benatar, Mariah Carey, Sandra Lee, Shawn Mendes and the cast of “Sesame Street” will be performing during the parade, which is also broadcast nationally on NBC to about 50 million viewers.
The city has acknowledged that the recent terror attacks have some people on edge. The de Blasio administration and the NYPD have New Yorkers the parade will be safe.Last week, the NYPD announced that 100 Critical Response Command officers and other heavy armed officers will work the parade and said there are no immediate threats against the city.
“It’s been a very big event. But the NYPD has really perfected over the years how to handle these large events,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a CNN interview Tuesday.