Every year I look forward to the Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Since its origin in 1924, the Macy’s Parade has kicked off the holiday season, and this year marks its 89th edition. There will be Broadway show tunes; 17 giant character balloons; 12 marching bands; over 1,000 dancers & cheerleaders; 27 floats; more than 1,000 clowns; a list of celebrity performers; the Radio City Rockettes; and the jolly man in red himself, Santa Claus.
For fellow New Jerseyans who love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, here are three ways to get there to experience the holiday tradition. In the words of the parade’s catchphrase, Let’s Have a Parade!
The Family Car
When you mention holiday travel, most people choose the family car. This Thanksgiving, AAA predicts that over 1 million New Jersey residents will be on the road from Wednesday, November 25 until Sunday, November 29. Tracy E. Noble, Manager, Public & Government Affairs of AAA Mid-Atlantic offers the following tips to motorists. “Before you take a long road trip, try to get eight hours of sleep the night before. Fatigue decreases reaction time and awareness. A recent AAA study found that about a third of motorists admit they have nearly nodded off at the wheel.”
Before you set out on your Thanksgiving commute, download the free AAA Mobile app. Travelers can use the app to find the lowest gas prices, map a route, make travel plans, and more. It is available for iPhone, Android, and iPad. Give yourself plenty of extra time to reach your destination, including stops for bathroom breaks and breakfast. Also remember important safety guidelines. “You should check your tires for proper inflation. Make sure all passengers wear seat belts or age-appropriate child safety seats. If you are traveling from a distance, take breaks and rotate drivers. Most of all, never text and drive, or drink and drive. Thanksgiving is known for travel and turkey, but it also is a big party for some folks.”
Once you have made your way into New York City, you will need the parade route. The Macy’s Parade starts at 9:00 a.m. from 77th Street and Central Park West. The procession will march to Columbus Circle, turn onto Central Park South, and march down 6th Avenue/Avenue of the Americas to 34th Street. At 34th Street, the Parade will make its final turn west and end at 7th Avenue in front of Macy’s Herald Square.
By Bus & Train
If the thought of all of that traffic has you clenching your teeth, you can avoid the bumper-to-bumper routine by using public trains and buses.
According to Jim Smith, Senior Public Information Officer, New Jersey Transit, services will be bumped up on Thursday, November 26, Thanksgiving Day. “We will add extra service to the schedule in the morning and midday hours to accommodate customers traveling to and from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. New Jersey Transit customer service representatives and volunteers will be deployed at major facilities throughout the holiday weekend to assist customers with their travels.”
New Jersey Transit also offers some travel tips for parade attendees. Be sure to check schedules far in advance. You can purchase bus and light rail tickets ahead of time via a ticket agent, ticket vending machine, or the New Jersey Transit Mobile app MyTix. Make a note to allow for extra travel time, as traffic congestion during Thanksgiving may affect bus travel times to and from New York City. For a complete schedule and fare information, customers can call 973-275-5555 or visit www.njtransit.com.
If you don’t like crowds, a third option is to stay at home and enjoy the parade from the living room couch. All you have to do is turn your television to NBC and watch from 9:00 AM until 12:00 PM. You can have a parade celebration breakfast in your pajamas with your family; you can savor the smell of the turkey cooking in the oven; plus you can prep for the Thanksgiving feast between commercials. Over 50 million television viewers, along with anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, and Al Roker of NBC’s TODAY, will be along for the parade.
For annual viewers looking forward to this year’s event, there are some new parade elements in store for 2015. The staff of Macy’s Parade Studio in Moonachie has been busy all year building six new floats. This year’s new floats include Big City Cheer! by Spirit of America Productions; The Cranberry Cooperative by Ocean Spray; Heartwarming Holiday Countdown by Hallmark Channel; The Colonel’s Road Trip to NYC by Kentucky Fried Chicken; Snoopy’s Doghouse by Peanuts Worldwide; and Discover Adventure! by Build-A-Bear.
Four new balloons will make their debut, including Angry Birds’ Red; DINO by Sinclair Oil; Ice Age’s Scrat and his Acorn; and Ronald McDonald.
Joining the balloons and floats will be such celebrities as Sandra Lee, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Mariah Carey, Cirque du Soleil, Daughtry, Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell, Questlove, and Jordin Sparks.
For more information on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, you can visit www.macys.com/parade. The parade hotline is 212-494-4495. No matter how you choose to experience the parade, we hope you enjoy the show!
Hero (Top) Feature and Article Images: © Macy’s, Inc.