With the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade expected to draw more than 3.5 million spectators to the streets of Manhattan on Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised paradegoers the NYPD would maintain a heavy police presence on the ground and in the air.
“The NYPD has the strongest anti-terrorism capacity of any police force in the country and we’re using it tonight and tomorrow to make sure that everyone here is kept safe,” de Blasio said Wednesday night at a news conference ahead of the parade.
The iconic parade, in its 91st year, is set to kick off at 9 a.m. The parade will start at Central Park West and West 77th Street and wind its way down to West 34th Street and Seventh Avenue, according to event organizers.
On Wednesday night, thousands of spectators made their way to Central Park West to watch the parade’s towering balloons be inflated.
De Blasio, Police Commissioner James O’Neill and Macy’s Chief Executive Jeffrey Gennette urged New Yorkers and tourists alike to feel secure about heading to the parade, which comes nearly a month after a suspected terrorist killed eight people in a truck attack in lower Manhattan.
“You will see a lot of officers, that is something that should make people feel good, and confident and calm,” de Blasio said.
Earlier this week, de Blasio and O’Neill announced the city would deploy aviation units, heavy weapons teams, rooftop surveillance teams and K-9 units, and use sand trucks to stop possible vehicle attacks as the parade makes its way through midtown.
“We understand that we are dealing with a very challenging world and so the amount of resources and personnel we put in has increased each year to make us safe,” de Blasio said.