The 96th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade brought droves of spectators and high spirits to the Upper West Side and Midtown Thursday morning.
The parade, which featured dozens of balloons and thousands of performers, wound its way from Central Park down to Herald Square over the course of a few hours. All along the parade route, attendees jammed to the sounds of marching bands, including the Queer Big Apple Corps and the Columbia, South Carolina’s Benedict College Marching Tiger Band of Distinction.
The crowds were dense along the parade route and spectators laughed, cheered and threw confetti as the floats passed.
Even being sandwiched between a police barricade and a Magnolia Bakery wasn’t enough to dampen Chabeli Martinez’s mood. She perched on a friend’s shoulders and led her brother and cousin in a rousing chorus of the Spongebob Squarepants theme song, just as the parade’s Spongebob and Gary balloon cruised through Columbus Circle.
“Everybody's taking pictures. Everybody's smiling in their cute winter hats,” Martinez said. “And I love the vibes.”
In addition to old standbys like Papa Smurf and the Pillsbury Doughboy, this year’s parade included new balloons from such beloved intellectual properties as Despicable Me, Bluey and Diary of a Wimpy Kid — as well as gasoline company Sinclair Oil.
“A DINOSAUR!” cried three-year-old Santiago Resendes from his mother Lacey’s shoulders as he spotted the corporation’s float, which depicts its prehistoric mascot being ridden by another, smaller dinosaur. “A brontosaurus and a T-Rex!”
The dinosaurs were green, added Resendes, who also referred to the Spongebob balloon as “crab on a cheese.”
Gothamist spoke to some attendees for whom this was their first Thanksgiving parade, or even their first Thanksgiving.
Ciara McGowan, who grew up in Ireland but now lives in Brooklyn, took in the sights and sounds of her first parade from the end of the route in Herald Square. She said she was particularly impressed to see TV presenter and actor Mario Lopez appear astride a gigantic turkey.
“The turkey was pretty impressive, and so was he,” she said, adding that after the parade she’ll be attending her first-ever Thanksgiving meal, complete with cranberry sauce. “I’m very excited.”