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NYC Thanksgiving parade: Macy’s ready to celebrate 90th anniversary

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will step off

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will step off on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Timothy A. Clary

Felix the cat is making a comeback.

The silent film era cartoon feline — the first helium character balloon flown in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1927 — will be carried along the route on Thursday as the parade celebrates its 90th anniversary.

“Our #1 guy!” Macy’s wrote on its parade website. “Modeled after the original 1927 design, Felix will be carried on poles just like the first parade balloons in the ’20s.”

The parade, which kicks off at 9 a.m. on Nov. 24, will run from 77th Street and Central Park West down to Columbus Circle, across Central Park South to Sixth Avenue, and then south all the way to Herald Square.

The NYPD is stepping up security along the 2.5 mile public route in light of threats against the parade, including one in which ISIS encouraged vehicle-based attacks.

Speaking on “CBS This Morning” Monday, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said the department is ordering 81 sand trucks for the parade route in addition to measures the department has used in the past, including lining up vehicles end-to-end to block the road.

Last week, Miller encouraged New Yorkers to attend the time-honored tradition, saying that he would be going with his family.

The 2016 parade will feature several other classic balloons, like Paddington Bear and the Pillsbury Doughboy, as well as some new ones like characters from the movie “Trolls,” according to Macy’s. Viewers will also enjoy performances from “Cats” and NBC’s “Hairspray Live!” which will air Dec. 7 and stars Kristin Chenoweth, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson and Harvey Fierstein. The NYPD’s marching band, clowns and more will add to the spectacle.

If you’re headed to the parade, pack an umbrella: Thursday is predicted to be cloudy with a chance of sprinkles before noon and a 30 percent chance of light right after noon, the National Weather Service said. A high of 48 degrees is predicted. 

The iconic parade debuted in 1924 and featured live animals like monkeys, bears, camels and elephants borrowed from nearby Central Park. The show took a break in 1942, 1943 and 1944, when the balloons were donated to the U.S. government during World War II, providing 650 pounds of scrap rubber for the war effort.

New Yorkers can stop by the pre-parade balloon inflation on the Upper West Side on Wednesday and watch them come to life from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Enter on 79th Street and Columbus Avenue.


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