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Attending the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2011

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Oct 21st, 2011, 10:13 AM
  #1
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Attending the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2011

Let's Have A Parade!

I've read the posts on this site started in past years about the parade, and there are great tips I'm sure still apply to this years parade - but wanted to start a discussion for those attending this years parade to see if new members to the site had more tips for us attending the parade.

Please don't reply with "stay home or in your hotel room to watch it on t.v."

YES - we know it's going to be crowded and crazy, but the parade is the main reason we are flying to New York. We know we will be standing and waiting and will be in a mob of people.

So... with that in mind - please share any tips on where you've watched the parade and if that was a good location of if there is a different area to try.

Also comments on the balloon inflation the day before would be helpful.

Thanks!
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Oct 21st, 2011, 10:25 AM
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The balloon inflation the day before is also mobbed - as in blocking the strets - so get there early and plan on standing for quite a while.

We do the parade uptowna and then go home to see the rest on TV - since the perfromances ar ein front of Macy's - and that is reserved for a VIP grandstand and the TV crews. The closer you ge to Macy's the earlier you need to get there. 6 am is NOT too early. Hope you are tall. If you have small kids push tem tothe ront of the crowd - it's the only way they will see anything. Bigger kids take their chances along with evryone else.
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Oct 21st, 2011, 10:32 AM
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There's lots of events I'd rather stay home to watch on TV (such as the tree lighting in Rock Ctr (actually, I don't watch that either, because I don't like what a spectacle it's become)), BUT, the Thanksgiving Parade is not one of them. I would definitely try to see it live once.
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Oct 21st, 2011, 11:34 AM
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no kids with us! We plan to be out there by 6am
my husband is 6'6" so he will be able to see!

I know we won't see the performances that are done in Herald Square - we will set the DVR at home to record the parade and be able to watch all that when we get home the following week. But we are excited to experience the parade live and in person - no matter where we are, what we get to see it will be an experience! And that is what we are going for!
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Oct 21st, 2011, 12:43 PM
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See if
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Oct 21st, 2011, 12:47 PM
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See if you can score VIP tix from Macy's (no, I don't have a clue as to how to get them... I suppose being a major stockholder or supplier or employee might be a help.) All of the grandstands are reserved for Macy's one percenters, and no one else is admitted, even if the stands are empty. Plan on spending at least five hours on your feet. Dress accordingly... the temps may be in the twenties or in the seventies... hard to tell at this point.
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Oct 21st, 2011, 02:34 PM
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Based on the last time I went, even if you get tickets for the grandstands in front of Macy's you won't see the performances. The grandstands are mostly on 34th Street, whereas the performances take place on Broadway / 6th Ave, then the performers turn onto 34th for a last bow. Plus the area around there is mobbed. I'd say your best bet is to grab a spot along the parade route to the north, and watch the parade go by. One year we watched it along Central Park West at around 68th Street, and it was not too crowded, good view, easy to get in and out.
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Oct 21st, 2011, 05:52 PM
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Usually Thnksgivinig seems to be on the warm side - at last the house is very hot from all those hours of roasting. I'm sure thre are days when it's cold but usually it's at least in the 40s - not cold at all - just make sure you have a hat and gloves.
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Oct 21st, 2011, 08:30 PM
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We are from Minnesota, so we are prepared for cold! We will have our cold weather gear ready and hope it's a WARM Autumn day! Can't wait!
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Oct 22nd, 2011, 05:59 AM
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Don't hope it's warm. It will be very crowded even if it's 15 degrees, but the warmer temperatures do encourage more people to give it a try, and make it less likely that they'll pack it in when their feet are freezing. I know you don't mind crowds, but NYC crowds can approach a really astonishing density, and anything that thins them out is desirable.

I haven't tried to see it live in at least 30 years (and it was considerably less of a tourist draw in those days), but my father always thought that the best rule of thumb with parades was to be as far uptown as we could manage.
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Oct 22nd, 2011, 08:58 AM
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Can we reply partially with "in your hotel room to watch it on t.v."?

Seriously, I've watched it twice from spots in Times Square. The first time I was cooking Thanksgiving dinner in an apartment a block away and it was VERY cold and VERY windy. We just went down to the street and watched for a few minutes and then went back to the warmth of the apartment. I was calling home when I saw the floats and balloons we had just seen appear on TV as they passed Herald Square. It was exciting!

The most recent time we were staying in a hotel room. Again, we went down to the street to watch it in person but went back up to finish watching it in the hotel room. I don't know where you are staying but if it's cold, that may be an option. Pick a spot along the route (there will be crowds everywhere) and if it gets too cold/windy/overwhelming go back and finish watching it on TV.

A friend always had access to the grandstand tickets but we passed on them. It was too cold (for us) to sit there that long.

Be sure to go see the balloon inflation the night before. Enjoy the holiday! It's a wonderful time to be in the city.
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Oct 22nd, 2011, 02:30 PM
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Since the parade is my main reason we are going to New York City at this time of year I will be one of the crazy people out there by 6am and standing in the rain, sleet, snow, wind and cold (properly dressed for the elements) if that's what Mother Nature gives us! but I'm really hopping it's a crisp, blue sky, beautiful fall day!

I know it's crazy, but it's been a dream to see it LIVE in PERSON and I can't wait to take it all in! The crowds of people, the weather, the standing and waiting, all of it!!!

Thanks for the ideas and suggestions! We leave one month from today and I simply can't wait!
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Oct 22nd, 2011, 05:39 PM
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Well if standing and waiting is what you really want - NY is the place for it. We can have waiting lines for practically anything.
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Oct 22nd, 2011, 09:05 PM
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I forget to mention that I have been in New York for the 4th of July fireworks twice (when I was MUCH younger! ) and once for New Years Eve, but several blocks up from Times Square so I have experienced NYC holiday crowds - just many, many years ago!

Here in Minnesota we do light parades in December standing in the snow! I come from crazy folks!
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Oct 23rd, 2011, 07:03 AM
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You can check wunderground.com for historical weather patterns and temps.
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Oct 23rd, 2011, 07:54 AM
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You'll have a great time, it's a wonderful time to be in NYC. Chances are the temp will be about 45-50 as a high that day, but if you look at actual temperature readings for Thanksgiving over the last 20 years, you'll probably see a range from 30 to 80!

You are absolutely making the right decision NOT to watch it from your hotel room, after traveling to NY for Thanksgiving!
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Oct 28th, 2011, 01:53 PM
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Michelle - I'm with you on the parade. Have been to NYC many times, although never over the holidays. Last Thanksgiving, while watching the parade on television, I said to my wife "I've wanted to see that damn parade in person for 50 years." So booked airline tickets last February to NYC, along with hotel reservation, and we're on our way on November 22nd, returning the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I've been religously studying the posts/recommendations/parade route and have decided we'll try to make our way to Central Park West, somewhere between the mid-60s and low-70s, probably around 600 a.m., or so.

I've even been planning this trip for so long (with the parade as the primary motivating factor) that I had the foresight (and luck) to score two orchestra seats to Book of Mormon for the November 23rd performance. But I took a chance on those tickets, and bought them as soon as the musical opened, and just before the Tony nominations came out. Lots of other interesting things planned, too.

I'll be on the outlook for you Minnesota folks --- you'll no doubt be the ones properly dressed for any cold weather. We'll be the ones in anything warm we can gather to take along with us --- not much use for cold-weather gear here in the American southwest.

Have fun, and as I said, I'm totally with you on this parade idea. I get it, and I simply can't wait to see it in person myself.
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Oct 28th, 2011, 02:19 PM
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David - if you are looking for food before or after the show, my friend recently opened a restaurant across the street in the Pearl Hotel called E & E's Grill house. The food is great!

www.eegrillhouse.com
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Oct 28th, 2011, 05:05 PM
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Thank you, SueNYC, for this recommendation. Funny, but I've already scouted out the E & E Grill House, and we'll likely be there for post-Book of Mormon dinner and drinks. Have seen similar rave reviews of the place elsewhere, and your post only confirms the opinions of others. But I thank you very much for your posting, and for your suggestion.
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Oct 28th, 2011, 05:29 PM
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We lived in NJ for 2 years and both years went in to watch the Parade... we loved every minute of it!
The early morning wait can be tough - but as a visitor, there is something cool about seeing a city wake up... especially for an event as exciting as the Parade. You'll see them moving the traffic lights, setting up fences, thousands of police, and all of the public waking up with their coffees. It's a fun experience as everyone is there for a good time!

The first year we went, we stood on the steps outside Carnegie Hall (corner of 6th & 57th). It's only 2-3 steps, but if you get them, you're 18" above everyone else!!! Plus only 8-10 people can fit on them so you have some space.

The second time we found a bus shelter and huddled inside. This sheltered us from the wind, kept out people from squashing us from behind, and gave us something to lean on during the wait. Just be sure to stay to the front, otherwise the shelter roof blocks the balloons.

Hope that helps!
It's the best.
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