As promised, Thursday's 94th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade -- an event that usually attracts more than three million spectators from all over the world cheering along a 2.5 mile route through Manhattan -- was unlike any other parade.
This year, the few who showed up hoping for a glimpse of that Macy’s magic were greeted by a massive NYPD lockdown of the area around Herald Square, with barricades stretching from 32nd to 36th Streets, and Seventh to Fifth Avenues. It was classified as a “closed set,” and only Macy’s and NBC employees (with their exclusive rights) were allowed anywhere near the three balloons, the handful of floats, and the few performances that went off live in front of the flagship store on 34th Street—like Jimmy Fallon and the Roots kicking off the festivities with a now-familiar NYC sign.
The rest of those who tried to catch a glimpse of the parade life -- and there weren’t many -- made do on the perimeter, though there was almost nothing to see. Peering up Sixth Ave from 32nd Street afforded a nice long look at the Boss Baby balloon, which floated there waiting its turn for close to an hour, but that was about it. Nobody stuck around for long.
"Take a couple of photos and keep it moving," an officer stationed by the barricade repeated endlessly. The goal of the lockdown was to discourage people from congregating, and it worked.
Still, everyone was in a pretty good mood on either side of the barriers. Those watching from home caught saw performances from Broadway casts, including Hamilton, Ain't Too Proud to Beg, and Jagged Little Pill. Also featured: Yayoi Kusama's "Love Flies Up To The Sky" balloon which was grounded last year due to high winds; appearances from NYC parades that were cancelled this year, like the Puerto Rican Day Parade, St. Patrick's Day Parade, Pride Parade, Mermaid Parade, and West Indian Parade; and, of course, Santa Claus.
Catch some highlights below: