SEE IT: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons inflated with fanfare again on Upper West Side

Spectators see the Baby Yoda balloon inflated on Nov. 24, 2021.
Photo by Adrian Childress

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.”

A Macy’s starPhoto by Adrian Childress
The Goku balloonPhoto by Adrian Childress
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade wouldn’t be complete without the Snoopy balloon.Photo by Adrian Childress
Ada Twist, Scientist is one of four new balloons participating in this year’s paradePhoto by Adrian Childress

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.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio (center) with Police Commissioner Dermot Shea and Macy’s CEO Jeffrey Gennette standing before the Pokemon balloonsPhoto by Adrian Childress
Macy’s workers used thousands of gallons of helium to pump up their Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons.Photo by Adrian Childress
When dinosaurs roamed Columbus AvenuePhoto by Adrian Childress
Candy canePhoto by Adrian Childress
Baby Yoda fully inflatedPhoto by Adrian Childress