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10 Tips For Surviving (and Enjoying!) Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Ogle balloons, wave to Santa and dance along to a marching band with your family

So you’ve decided to brave the crowds, bring the relatives and stake out a spot along the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route. Really? Are you sure? Ok, then. Game on, Huntington.

As you have chosen to embark upon this time-honored ritual, allow us to provide you with some tips on how to make the most of the experience, and—hopefully—avoid as many elbows to your ribcage as possible.

1. Watch Workers Inflate the Balloons on Thanksgiving Eve

Sure, you live in Huntington. But you are closer to the action than anyone else across the country, so why not get an up close and personal preview of what will be rolling down the parade route on Thursday? There's something absolutely magical about watching larger-than-life cartoon characters rise from the pavement under the pale moonlight. Head to Broadway between 77th and 81st Streets for this "only in New York" experience.

2. The Early Bird Catches the Perch

Truly, the most important rule of Thanksgiving Day Parade watching is starting your day early to avoid having someone else blocking your view the entire time. The parade kicks off at 9 a.m., but devoted fans are known to line up around 4. Seriously.

3. Pass on Parking Garages

Today is a day to give thanks for the subway. Mass transit is truly the best, quickest, and most efficient travel option. But if you must drive, you can check out the official traffic advisory for street closures here.

4. Don't Overdo it on Coffee

Yes, understandably, you will crave caffeine after rising at such an ungodly hour. But the more liquids you and your family consume, the more uncomfortable you will be later—just when the wicked-cool drum corps start passing by.

5. Resist The Urge to Move

To the earlier tip, the point of getting up so early is to establish your domain along the route. If you leave your spot, whether to stretch your legs, look for something better or grab a bite to eat, you can bet money that someone else will be happy to take it and then insist he or she has stood there since 1982.

6. Dress Like You're Boarding The Polar Express

Despite a tropical storm sweeping through a few weeks back, New York City is chilly now. Don't skimp on the scarves, hats and flannels.

7. Leave the Cityslicker Sourpuss Act At Home

Sure, you probably wouldn't belt out holiday tunes if they came on in a store while you were shopping. But after getting up early, limiting your food intake and shivering in the cold, is it really worth it to maintain hipster cred? No. Find the most festive version of yourself and revel in the raucousness by cheering, clapping, and carrolling your heart out.

8. Don't Forget To Tell Your Friends, Take Lots of Pictures

They may call you crazy now. But think of the still-frame memories and bragging rights to be shared on Facebook for years to come! They'll be eating crow, while you're enjoying your victory turkey dinner.

9. Do Have Your Holiday Meal At Someone Else's House

Will you really be in the mood to baste and bake after hours of standing outside waiting for Santa's Sleigh? We think not.

10. Record The Whole Thing While You're Gone

This way, next year you can give yourself a break for wanting to sleep in.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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