Thursday, November 30, 2017

Pre-Party: The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

After hearing a piece on NPR about the inflation event on the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving, the girls and I decided to give it a try. The kids had a half day at school. They got out at noon and we were on the 12:37 train into NYC. All was grey and overcast and we were trying to be enthusiastic. Once we got to the site, on the streets outside the Museum of Natural History, the sun came out and we were transfixed. So fun! So big! So New York!
There was some reality to the surreal giant balloons and Central Park in its fall glory.  The police presence, heightened of course in light of recent attacks. We followed the crowd to the Museum of Natural History where the balloons would be lined up around the museum. Foot traffic was channeled through a one directional path. We walked with armed police posted every few feet. Sniffer dogs and more police wove throughout the crowd. Additionally, the whole event was moved up a couple hours so it would be done during day light hours. But despite all that, it still felt fun and festive. And every police person wished us a Happy Thanksgiving.
We’ve always been a fan of the balloons, though we have only watched the parade once. Overseas, the parade does not get much coverage but Melissa Sweet’s book Balloons over Broadway got us interested. It is hard to resist the creative follow your dream story of Tony Sarg, the puppeteer behind the Macy’s Parade. I bought a few art supplies and sort of hoped we might follow along with Sweet’s instruction and make our own marionettes at home. We did not but then again the kids are now teens, with much less arts and crafts time. The crayon box is still in our home but only because I can’t quite throw it out.
We wandered around watching the balloons fill up with helium. We recognized a number of the balloon characters but many were new to us. I was surprised at how many we did not know then one of the girls noted a sign in front of each balloon indicating its first flight. These balloons were new to everyone. We knew Charlie Brown and the Pillsbury Dough man but PAWS Patrol and a good dinosaur were new to us. We saw a duck from an insurance commercial that plays during football games and we missed Adam (who stayed at home for basketball).
After a look at balloons, we wandered back to the train through Central Park. The sun was out, the fields were green. The leaves were modestly colorful. The girls had balloons tied to their wrists from the inflation event. Littler kids in the park looked at them with envy. We listened in on a family speaking German. Royce jumped from rock to rock. And I was very happy to have another day of childhood- happy kids, balloons and hot chocolate.


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