On November 25th 2005 at 9am EST Macy’s will hold its annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade starts on 77th street and Central Park West and ends on 7th Avenue and 34th street. The parade can be viewed from different location throughout Manhattan but some of the best spots are 70th street Columbus circle to 65th Street, anywhere on Columbus circle, Broadway between 59th and 38th streets, and 34th street anywhere between Broadway and 7th Avenue.
If you are interested in viewing the parade you should plan on staking out a spot somewhere between 5 and 6am in the morning. Be sure to wear lots of layers and warm clothing as it can quite often be cold. You will be able to purchase bagels, hot chocolate, and coffee from nearby street vendors. If you are viewing from the start of the parade route it will take about 90 minutes to see the entire parade, if you are at the end of the route it will take almost 3 hours to see the whole parade. Television coverage is scheduled to begin at 9 AM. For a sneak peek at some of the balloons as they get blown up visit Central Park near the Museum of Natural History the day before between 3pm and 10pm.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade was started in 1924 as a thank you gift to the residents of Manhattan from Macy’s. The first helium balloon appeared in 1929. The first Mickey Mouse Balloon appeared in the parade in 1934. During 1942 through 1944 the parade wasn’t held and all of the balloons were donated to the war effort, as rubber was a rare and valuable commodity at the time. In 1945 the parade returned and was more amazing and spectacular than any of the parades before. This was the first parade to be televised and had over 2 million spectators. !957 marked one of the parades unusual accidents, the Popeye balloon filled with water from a rain shower earlier that morning, during the parade the extra weight caused the balloon to veer off course and bump into a nearby building. The collision caused the water to dump out all over parade bystanders. In 1958 there was a helium shortage so the balloons were suspended from construction cranes and filled with air. In the early 1960’s some of the older and more popular balloons were introduced including underdog, Bullwinkle, snoopy and Kermit the frog. 1969 marked the first year that parade floats were included in the parade. Parade floats are generally built on the chassis of an old school bus. In 1976 the parade was an extravaganza that the country had never seen before. It had a battalion of minuteman to celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of the United States independence. Earlier that year Macy’s started the Fourth of July fireworks display, a tradition that is carried on till this day. Today over 2.5 million people line the 2 and half mile parade route and another 40 million viewers watch the parade on TV. In addition to the floats and balloons, the parade now has broadways shows, and other popular musical acts performing in the parade. It’s been a long running tradition to end the parade with Santa’s sleigh every year.