Say that title three times fast. But seriously, last year I decided to visit the inflation of the balloons that go on display at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It takes place the night before Thanksgiving Day next door from the American Museum of Natural History, which is at Central Park West and 79th st. I assume they blow them up there because that’s where the parade kicks off. So I basically said, “What the hell,” and went with my wife and son. I had fun but there were some issues that I’ll get into.
When I got in the area, there was some sort of small party event a few blocks away from the balloon blow-up, but I didn’t go in. We arrived in that part of the city a little later than I wanted to so we skipped it. It looked interesting but I didn’t hear anything about it before so we pressed on ahead.
As we got closer, we realized that the sidewalks were more crowded than usual. The closer we were, the tighter the crowd got. When I saw the metal barricades, I figured out that we were entering the waiting area to get into the blow-up area. The crowd was massive! I think everyone in New York decided to go see the balloon blow-up. And why not? I saw advertisements for the event everywhere.
The crowd moved slow and people were tight on each other. I made sure to take everything out of my outside pockets and put them inside my coat. It would be a field day for pickpocketers. However, as slow as the crowd was moving, it was moving faster than I thought it would. The barricade forced the crowd to turn and then we could see the balloons.
So what’s really cool about this whole event is that you can see the actual parade balloons up close. They’re like…right there! Some of them are really big too. They’ll have nets all over them and weights so that they don’t fly away as they get bigger.
What’s a little depressing about them is that most of them are face down on the floor. It looks as if they’re sick or tripped and face planted. I know they’re only balloons, but I still take pity on them. Yeah, I’m a weirdo like that.
There was also workers there who were watching the balloons and would help keep the crowd moving if everyone stayed still for too long. There was even a guy who knew a lot about the balloons and would share information if asked.
Again, the annoying part about this was the people. It was really tight and it seemed as if everyone was paranoid that people were going to skip them, so to prevent this, everyone would be basically on each other’s backs. It’s as if you want to make a turn in traffic but the cars purposely tailgate so that you can’t get in front of them, except this was annoying human traffic. Oh, and they had annoying kids that had no concept of manners. Some hoity-toity parents look at you as if you’re stupid for getting angry and go back to using their Canon DSLR cameras as point-and-click cameras. Ten years ago I would have gladly went to jail instead of putting up with that BS.
Other than the crowd nonsense, I had fun checking out the balloons. I don’t have much patience so the amount of people annoyed me. There were actually two sections where they were blowing up balloons, but after the first section, I wanted to go home. I didn’t want to deal with the crowd again. Would I do it again? Sure, in a few years. It’s something to do at least once so that it can be crossed off the bucket list. Give it a shot!