The night before Thanksgiving the balloons are inflated for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We planned to go to the Upper West Side for this event just west of Central Park. We had been told that the crowds are strictly controlled, and to get into the actual area you need a party invitation for a specific location within the balloon area. We trudged in freezing cold and sleeting rain and were ready to turn back a few blocks from the Natural History Museum, but we finally made it just after our umbrella flipped inside out.
As we approached 77th St. the police tired to turn us away but we showed them our computer-generated invitation to “Brandon and Michael’s Pre-Turkey Day party” at 35 W. 77th and they let us through. We were able to get close to action. The balloons were enormous!! They were already partially inflated and were covered with strong netting as well as tied down with ropes and sandbags. Many handlers were working on each balloon, and gigantic helium trucks were filling them. The crowds were festive and everyone had a great sense of anticipation for the next day, but all were also worried that weather might preclude the parade.
Next day we awakened to sunshine and the parade was on. We walked up to 52nd & 6th Ave. to view the parade. The balloons were allowed to fly but had to be kept lower than usual and were still 4-5 stories above us. The large bands were terrific. However, it was extraordinarily cold and we could only stay about two hours. On the way home we had to stop into a boulongerie to get warm. We got home and watched the rest of the parade on tv……it was definitely the best parade we have ever seen.
Later in the day we ventured out again into the frigid cold. We decided that this was a reminder why we do not want to be in NYC in the winter, and the weather made thoughts of going home to Denver a bit easier to swallow. Our entire three months had been warm and sunny almost every day and this was really our first taste of the bitter cold.
We took the E subway to almost the last stop in Queens and Lisa and Ross (Lisa is Den’s boss) picked us up in their car. It was our second car ride in three months. We drove to their home in Hollis Hills. In the front yard was a huge stump that was left from Hurricane Sandy the year before. They had a huge family gathering including their sons, Landon and Tyler, and close relatives. We talked to an aunt who had been at the World Trade Center on 9/11 and she recounted her horrific experience. The tv blared football games, little kids were running around, and their dog was enjoying the attention. It was a happy celebration of both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah with abundant foods for each. We finally left for the subway home bout 8:30 and arrived home full and tired and amazed at our memorable day. We will never have a Thanksgiving Day like this one!