Macy's Balloon Inflation for the Thanksgiving Day Parade

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77th & 81st Streets between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, New York, NY, USA

Macy's Balloon Inflation for the Thanksgiving Day Parade New York Reviews

smhirsch smhirsch
9 reviews
Nov 21, 2007
Although I've only ever been to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City once, I've been to the balloon inflation the night prior almost every year since I can remember.

Now, here's the thing. Back in the '90s, the balloon inflation wasn't a huge attraction like it is today. They didn't start the inflation until 10/11pm and it went until around 2am. The balloons basically took over a few streets around the American Museum of Natural History and you could walk around wherever you wanted in the streets and around the balloons. You could really get a close look.

The balloon inflation the night before the parade has become so popular, however, that in the past maybe 5-7 years, the streets have been closed off and everyone is herded along the sidewalks. Every year, it gets progressively busier and harder to walk and take pictures. Slightly less enjoyable, and I don't think it's just because I'm getting older and the magic of the huge Kermit the Frog and Scooby Doo has disappeared.

This year, there were so many people there that they actually made everyone enter the sidewalk shuffle through ONE ENTRANCE. I remember what it used to be like, where we wouldn't even get into the city until around 11pm and they'd just be starting and you could actually stand there and watch Spiderman go from a rolled out mass to a floating balloon. Now, they have people with megaphones standing every 20 feet or so making sure everyone moves along and doesn't hold up the line anywhere. They even set up speaker systems on every corner. Oh, and the inflation starts at 4pm so that all the little guys can go early before dinner. By the time we got into the city (at around 7pm) all the balloons were inflated.

I don't mean to bash the whole thing, because really, I used to look forward to going to the balloon inflation almost as much as passing out on the couch after eating as much of everything on the table that I could the next evening. I think that if you have little kids, they'll still love long as you're willing to carry them on your shoulders so they can actually see the balloons over the crowds...
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