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    Giving Thanks — New York Style

    Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
    Thursday, November 24th, 2011

    Barney balloon Macy's Thanksgiving Day ParadeNo matter what your age, everyone becomes a kid when Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade rolls down to Herald Square. Whether your favorite is the Charlie Brown balloon, the Barney float, or the marching bands, it seems that the hands down winner by the end of the parade is ...Santa!

    Macy's Parade route

    In 2011, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which traditionally heads down Broadway, has a new route, which bypasses Broadway completely.

    From Central Park West and 77th Street the parade travels down to Columbus Circle and makes a turn onto Central Park South. When the parade reaches Seventh Avenue, it turns and goes down Seventh Avenue, to Times Square, It then turns east to Sixth Avenue and travels down to Macy's at 34th Street and Herald Square.

    The best places to watch?

    • From Central Park West: the west side of the street from 70th Street to Columbus Circle and on the east side of the street from 70th to 65th Street.
    • Columbus Circle: the west side of the street.
    • 34th Street: the south side of the street between Broadway and 7th Avenue.

    There is no public viewing or press access in front of Macy's on Broadway from 34th to 38th Street.

    To get a good spot, get to midtown early. Check the public transportation schedules, and don't drive into the city on a day with a "gridlock alert" posted. People start arriving as early as 6:30AM and many of them come in by bus or train from miles around. With over 60 million viewers across the country and 3 million spectators that line up along the streets of New York City each year, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a national icon that has grown into a world-famous holiday event.

    The best hotels to book

    Each year, for months in advance best viewing hotels along the parade route are booked solid - by families and groups of friends who want a front row seat at one of the most amazing public spectacles on the planet. Here are the handful that usually make the viewing A-list:

    • Accor Novotel 226 West 52nd St.
    • Crowne Plaza Manhattan 1605 Broadway info rates map
    • Millennium Broadway 145 W. 44th St.
    • Sheraton Manhattan Hotel 790 7th Ave.
    • Sheraton New York 811 7th Ave.
    • WestPark 308 W. 58th St.

    Many more nearby hotels along the side streets are also jam-packed with visitors who come in for the weekend to help kick off the annual holiday season that always begins with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

    Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade history & fun facts

    The parade's history is a long and colorful one. For almost 80 years, it has continued to grow in size and scale, as the parade proudly marches down a 2.5 mile route in New York City with over 10,000 participants - including Macy’s employees, their families, celebrities, athletes, clowns and dance groups in tow. Featuring fabulous floats and America's best marching bands, the signature of the parade continues to be the giant helium character balloons.

    Band performing in front of Macy's Thanksgiving Day ParadeThe holidays begin for parents and children with St. Nick's arrival. Grownups seem to be a little kinder in the spirit of the season. Children are on their best behavior as they put lists of wishes on paper for the magical elves to pack in Santa's bags.

    Sharing with those less able to provide a happy holiday is part of the joy of giving that permeates the air. Many local organizations join in the charitable feeling. As you prepare for holiday shopping remember those who cannot share the fun of standing at store check-out counters and searching every toy store for that one special gift that must be under the tree. Giving joy to others is the message of the parade that shouts above the commercialism of the holidays.

    The smiles on the faces of adults and kids are not for sale at any price. The memories of standing in the cold watching Santa arrive provide warmth through all the cold days of winter.

    Other Macy's Thanksgiving Day Internet links:

    Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Official Site

    Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade History

    Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2002

    Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Photo Gallery


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