Thanksgiving In The City: The Parade and the Upper East Side Gals’ Feast
“Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming! ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin”
Since I was a little girl, I grew up watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was tradition in my household. Smells would be wafting through the whole house, as my Mom cooked turkey, mashed and sweet potatoes and all the trimmings of Thanksgiving. Us kids would be enraptured as the floats paraded down Central Park West to Central park South and finally along Sixth Avenue until it arrived in Herald Square.
We would run on the many commercials to get ready for the multitude of relatives that would descend upon the house, rushing so we didn’t miss Santa who always without fail closed out the parade and open the Holiday season in the States. It was excitement and giddiness. Joy and love, that has transcended into nostalgia as I have gotten older.
Living in the city, there are two (maybe three) events that New Yorkers avoid like the plague, New Year’s Eve in Time Square and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (and sometimes the Fourth of July) For city dwellers, constantly surrounded by people we have a knack of hating said people.
On New Year’s Eve, you could not pay me enough to attend, (not even for a million dollars) but the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is something else all together. With over two and a half miles of parade root, the crowds are much more spread out, making you feel less like penned cattle and able to actually enjoy the event.
Having never done, the parade despite it being on my bucket list, my friend Sarah who also had never done it, decided to get up ridiculously early to catch the start of it on the West Side. We are both Upper East Side Gals, so we met at seven in our neighborhood to grab coffee aka our hand-warmers before walking over.
While it was chilly it was not to bad, and we could still catch the after math of what had been a gorgeous sunrise.
Upper West Side
It was a fairly quick trek, despite their being a detour. The parade starts at 77th street and the route we took dropped us out there. Alas because we weren’t ticket holders (we might have maybe not researched this to the best of our ability) we couldn’t enter there. We walked ten blocks to sixty-seventh where we were able to get in, with no issue.
There were already people there, but at quarter to eight, it was not overly crowded. A police detective who was doing detail in that section, had his family there, and another family from Orlando were right by us. Sarah and I stood behind the kids who had the right idea with chairs and blankets! Because it was kids in front of us, we had an amazing view.
We also were honestly in the best section. The people were so insanely nice, as well as comical. Seriously, several of the guys kept cracking jokes, and I swear they were enjoying it more then the kids were. The littles were also super cute as they were cheering as the floats and balloons past.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
This was the ninety-first year that the parade has been held, which is a huge achievement in itself. With over thousands of volunteers and organizers, it really is a special event.
Seeing it in person was so much better then seeing it on television.
Can I just say people watching?
No joke Sarah and I were dying before the parade even started watching all of the people. From the people who carried ladders down Central Park West so they could sit on them. (one hundred percent serious I have photographic proof)
To the people hanging out the windows, to all the turkey hats we saw, it was amazing and the excitement of the crowd was infectious. I also have to give a huge shout out to the NYPD who not only had to stand there in the cold, but were incredibly helpful and super sweet, as they not only protected us, but also made sure we had a blast.
I was also shocked at how short the parade was. When you take out the performances and ALL the commercials the parade ended up finishing just past ten-thirty as opposed to noon.
It was so cool to see the balloons and floats in person.
Chase from Paw Patrol
Sponge Bob Square Pants.
As well as all the celebs (some who seemed less then thrilled) and the marching bands who were amazing!
I do not know how they kept the energy up to perform for two and a half PLUS miles!
But they were on it! Ohio especially was amazing!
Many of the marchers would interact with the crowd and by the end of the parade, Sarah and I were COVERED in confetti.
Literally for the rest of the day we were raining confetti everywhere we went.
My coffee cup even got decorated!
I will definitely say the highlight aside from seeing 98 Degrees…(Marry me!!!! And yes I did say that..Again documented proof.)
Was of course seeing Santa Clause. It was even MORE magical seeing him in person after years of watching him on television.
I have ben ready for the Christmas season for weeks, but there was something about seeing the parade that made Sarah and I giddy, despite being half frozen and unable to walk straight after standing for three hours.
Confession: I might have even been skipping down the blocks as we walked through the park back to the East Side and my apartment.
We made a quick detour to Le Pain to warm up and sprinkle our
Christmas Ferry Dust confetti every where. We ordered spiced hot apple cider which was truly magical as we reminisced about the incredible morning.
We completely owned our tourist moments!
Upper East Side Feast
Sarah came back to my apartment for Christmas movies, and the single New Yorker Girl’s Feast: Wine, cheese, crackers, some fruit, and of course chocolate. We put on Hallmark, because we wanted to be the ultimate of basicness, and we ate and laughed and ate some more.
Seriously she and I had so many laughs it was the PERFECT way to spend the rest of the day. I am so utterly grateful for this girl and the friendship we have cultivated especially this past year. You know you are the best of friends when you have way to many one liners and inside jokes to count. She is my sister from another mister and I was so grateful we got to kick off the season together.
It may not have been the most traditional of Thanksgivings, but it was utter perfection just the same.
How did you spend Thanksgiving? What did you do? What are some traditions you have?