HAPPY THANKSGIVING – 2019: We’re about to celebrate the best NYC holiday; one which, even though it’s celebrated throughout the country, has special resonance in little ol’ Gotham. It always seems like a good idea to take the time to celebrate and participate in the surreal and wonderful Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC. Yes, while the rest of the country watches the parade on television as part of their annual late-November ritual, WE get to hike over to the West Side and watch the craziness unfold. It never gets old. Starting Wednesday and building to fever pitch late into the night, all of the streets around the Natural History Museum are blocked off as the inflations begin of the building-sized balloons which are the parade’s hallmark. It takes hours and hours to inflate the many interior chambers of each balloon. Part of the fun is looking at the pancake-flat mass of colored vinyl laid out in the street and trying to guess which balloon it is. Spiderman ? Snoopy ? Hello Kitty ? Kermit ?
What are this year’s new balloons? There are FIVE. This year’s one-off “concept balloon” will feature a character (see above) by avant garde Japanese artist YAYOI KUSAMA. The remaining four new entries will be SNOOPY as an astronaut in a nod to this being the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing. He will be joined by a lovely, retro- SMOKEY THE BEAR, a GREEN EGGS and HAM and a new SPONGE BOB (can you believe that character is 20 years old??!!)
Most of the balloons don’t start to take shape until well into the middle of the preceding night. But one of the reasons you’re a New Yorker is that it’s easy to get up early on Thanksgiving morning and amble over to the West Side (8am at the latest; 77th and 81st Sts., between CPW and Columbus) ) and see the balloons fully inflated but still-tethered to the ground. That’s when you begin to truly appreciate the scale of these wacky engineering marvels in situ. It’s less crowded and you get to chat with the balloon-handlers in their funny jumpsuits made to coordinate with their assigned balloons. Marching bands, lots and lots of marching bands from all over the country are wandering about with tubas in tow. So, get your coffee, throw some pants on over your jim-jams and revel in this bit of unique local color.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE – enjoy this best of all holidays in this best of all cities in the world!