After being kept off-limits to the public last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual balloon inflation for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was back on the Upper West Side on Wednesday night, hours before the big march.
The unique spectacle at the corner of 81st Street and Columbus Avenue offered a preview of the many amazing balloons that have become a regular fixture of the Turkey Day celebration through the years.
Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated the inflation’s return as a sign of the city’s continuing recovery from the pandemic, which had kept spectators away from both last year’s inflation and the parade itself. But this year, thanks to the vaccination effort, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade returns to full strength, with tens of thousands of people expected to line the parade route Thanksgiving morning.
“It is beautiful to have this parade back full strength. It’s going to be a magical, magical moment,” de Blasio said. “The weather is cooperating for tomorrow, so it’s looking good all around.”
Macy’s CEO Jeffrey Gennette noted that Funko Pop is among the many new balloons on display this year. The parade will also feature the usual slate of live performances from artists, such as Carrie Underwood and Jon Batiste, as well as several new Disney-themed floats.
“We’re thrilled to bring back this cherished tradition from here on the Upper West Side, going all the way to our flagship at 34th Street,” Gennette said. “This is in very close partnership with our partners in New York City, as well as the State, and all the agencies. And it gives us the opportunity to bring magic to New York, as well as the country.”