FCLC’s Guide to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

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USA

Thousands of people packed 6th Avenue in New York City to watch marching bands, colorful floats and celebrities march along in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 27, 2014. (Roy Caratozzolo III/TNS)

By RACHEL JARVIS
Assistant Arts Editor

If you stay on campus or commute to school on Thanksgiving Day, you wouldn’t be able to miss the parade if you tried. On Thursday, Nov. 26 at 9 a.m., the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade kicks off at 77th street and Central Park West, before turning at Columbus Circle onto Central Park South, making Columbus Circle –which is less than a mile from Fordham and a five minute walk tops–the best place to watch the parade live. Still, how do you go about seeing New York’s biggest holiday parade and America’s most watched Thanksgiving special?

Before:

Watch the balloon inflation.

Few people know that on Wednesday from 3-10 p.m., all of the balloons will be inflated at the American Museum of Natural History. For those interested, there’s a viewing path that starts at 79th street and Columbus Ave. that wraps around the entire museum.

Pick a viewing spot.

If you don’t think Columbus Circle is the best place to see the parade live, then choose another viewing spot along the parade route. The only other free alternative would be to camp out along Central Park West, as viewing is restricted to TV and news crews along 6th Ave. between 34th and 38th street and Macy’s Herald Square. However, if you’re so inclined, there’s also the option of purchasing tickets to see the parade from a private viewing area such as The Trump International Hotel & Tower, the New York Hilton Midtown or The Warwick Hotel, to name a few. For a map of the parade route, you can download the free Macy’s Parade app from the App Store or the Google Play store.

Dress for the weather.

If you haven’t invested in a winter coat yet, now would be a great time to do so, because it’s less enjoyable to watch the parade if you can’t feel your fingers.

During:

Get to “your spot” early.

Every year, around 3.5 million people in NYC gather to see the parade live. To make sure you’re one of those people, you must secure your spot early. The parade starts at 9 a.m. but people begin camping out at 6 a.m. If you’re staying on campus, it shouldn’t be that hard to decide when to leave. If you’re a commuter, consider the holiday transit schedules, and be sure to factor in Thanksgiving traffic.

Stay safe.

The Big Apple is one of the biggest entertainment hubs of the world. People come into the city to celebrate and have a nice time, but some will try to come in to disrupt the peace and make mischief. With that in mind, stay alert. As MTA workers and NYPD always announce on the subway platforms and trains, “if you see something, say something.” That goes for any number of things–suspicious packages, people or conversations, abandoned children or noisy drunks. There’s no danger in letting your hair down, just keep your guard up.

After:

Travel with Caution.
Traffic will be heavy, of course. Reportedly, the worst time to travel in and out of NYC is between 1 and 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. So, if you have to commute out of the city, leave before the parade ends or grab some lunch and wait out the mass exodus.

Repeat?
Depending on how your experience goes, this may be the first of many great parade memories for you and/or your friends, or the last time you ever force yourself to stand in the freezing cold amidst hoards of strangers in hopes of seeing the Snoopy balloon. Regardless, if you don’t see the parade in person, you can always watch it live on NBC beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday Nov. 26, 2015.

[quote_center]Happy Thanksgiving![/quote_center]