Thanksgiving – New York City Style
Traditions, Events and Ringing in the Holidays in Spectacular Fashion
There’s nothing quite like Thanksgiving Day in New York City. The weather can be very cold or mild, but what’s constant is the parades, the crowds, and the way in which the city begins dressing up, in grand style, for the holidays.
The world-famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is in its 84th year. The tradition started in 1924 when European immigrants, who worked for Macy’s and were accustomed to festivals and celebrations, decided to dress in costume and march down the streets of the city. They built floats, borrowed animals from the Central Park Zoo and brought together bands to celebrate the occasion.
The only time in history New York didn’t have the large event was during World War II, but in 1945, it was back, in all its glory and televised for the first time. Expected crowds this year are around 3.5 million people and it starts at 9 a.m. Beginning at 77th Street and Central Park West and ending in front of Macy’s Herald Square, there’s 8,000 participants scheduled to appear. With 15 giant balloons, 12 marching bands, 27 floats and a host of celebrities, people who want a good view usually show up between six and seven a.m.
Many people opt to stay overnight in the city the night before because New York restaurants and bars host numerous Thanksgiving Eve parties.
The city stores are closed on Thanksgiving, but you’ll see the shops decorated in full Christmas style, in preparation for Black Friday the next day. The Empire State Building, Rockefeller’s Top of the Rock and The Rink, the Pond ice rink at Bryant Park, Central Park Zoo, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden and a great choice of Broadway performances are open, as well as a host of other activities throughout the city. Of course, Central Park will be open to welcome thousands of people to take part in its celebration of the season.
The lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Center is slotted for the following week on Tuesday, November 30th from 7-9 p.m. This tradition began in 1933 with a 50-foot tree decorated with 700 lights. This year, the tree is a 75-year old, 74-foot tall Norway Spruce donated by twelve-year veteran New York City firefighter and one of the first responders of 9/11, Peter Acton of Mahopac, New York. There will be 30,000 LED lights on the tree and NBC will televise the event that night.
My family and I have traveled all over the world and I’ve lived in the city now for over a decade. No matter how many times I’ve experienced New York City’s holiday fanfare, I’m always amazed at how it all comes together and how fortunate we are to be living here.
Whether you experience it up close and personal or stay home to watch the city’s celebration of the season with 50 million other viewers, Thanksgiving Day in New York City is a glorious sight to behold.
From our families to yours, we wish you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.
What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Share them with us by leaving a comment.
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