Thursday, November 27, 2008

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York on Thanksgiving Day.

Our Thanksgiving Day occurs on the fourth Thursday, after the first Monday of November, and therefore is not on a fixed date like Christmas. Sometimes this holiday occurs under rainy or snowy skies, and sometimes the chill of the air makes it a grand time to do a lot of cooking that involves having an oven's heat.

Besides being our traditional day to count our blessings, this day also provides the gateway to the Christmas season. A New York City tradition is the parade that has been sponsored by our big Macy's department store for many decades. Lots of Macy's employees participate in the parade, as do champion marching bands from all over America, and some semi-famous stars of stage and screen.

The big draw for the children attending the parade are the giant balloons in the shapes of many cartoon or storybook characters. The parade assembles on the western side of Central Park, and draws huge crowds as it makes its way downtown, ending up in front of Macy's. Often the only part of the parade that little children can actually see are the helium-filled balloons, that are steered along the route by teams of Macy folks holding on to cables, and hoping that the balloons do not escape their grip.

Keeping up the balloon theme, vendors are very much on the scene selling their own versions of balloons as souvenirs of the parade. It is hard for parents to avoid buying one of these for their child. Think of the parents who have a few children to please. The following photo also shows the entrance to the famous Dakota apartment house.

Let me show you all some of the big balloons. I will leave it to you to guess which character is which.

This one might be easier to name.

I love the colors in this picture and wonder which choice these little girls made. You might also get a glimpse of a gentleman selling cotton candy in the background. I think that he is counting his funds.
Here comes another fellow, just crossing 72 Street. Please note the blue sky.

I absolutely could not resist taking a photo of this large pup. He seemed to be very well trained.

In some years past, accidents involving balloons going out of control have occurred. The wind sock on the top of the street light pole is there to warn the parade marshals when the breezes might pose a risk. No problems like that today.

I could not resist taking a photo of this cutie. There were lots of colorful hats keeping little and big ears warm.

Since this is, after all, New York, there is much more police presence at the parade than there used to be. This copter was just a little too low to suit me, and I was glad when it hovered away.

Even when the weather is a good as it was this morning, standing in one place for a few hours can be tiring and you can suddenly feel a chill in your toes. I noticed that the vendors also noticed when folks began to drift away from the parade. (Keep in mind that the viewers were about 75 folks deep. Very few have an unobstructed view of the parade, unless on daddy's shoulders, or if daddy has thoughtfully brought along a ladder.)
And so, this photo shows the crowd beginning to thin, and the vendors perhaps beginning to run a sale on their souvenirs.
Some folks actually gathered up their families and made their retreat to bus, subway, car, or perhaps just foot, before the star of the show made his arrival. You might just be able to make out the bearded fellow in the red suit.

I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Dear Frances,

    thank you for sharing that with us; it reminded me instantly of the mayhem and fun we had at the Easter Parade on 5th Avenue last year.

    My son has visited again this year for a Graphic design conference, and know both of them will be back many times, Robyn wants to be a Journo there at some point, she thinks it's one of the most exciting cities in the world; although she got back from Paris last night, and I think NYC maybe temporarily usurped!

    I was able to guess all the Balloon characters apart from the Dog, and am torn between it being Nanna from Alice in Wonderland, or the Daft Dog in Beethoven's 5th!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Zoë xx

  2. Wow! Are they balloons? I've never been to New York, I usually hate cities, but you make it sound so attractive.

  3. Oh, Happy thanksgiving, Frances!!! Didn't you have THE most stunning blue sky? And so many fabulous balloons - it really does look quite a parade. And is that a glimpse of your apartment building we can see? Would love to see more - looks like a really handsome old building. I love the idea of celebrating a day for being thankful. Such a lovely idea.

  4. What a wonderful parade! Too many people for a hermit like me, but I do love balloons. I am so glad you had a Happy Thanksgiving and the skies were blue.

  5. I remember watching snippets of the parade on TV, later it was the children, while I tried to put together Thanksgiving dinner. There's something very attractive of watching such a parade right when it happens, but looking at the TV screen, from the comfort of one's warm home, is not without its charm either. ;-)
    Twenty-three Thanksgivings in DC, and I never once managed to go up to see the parade!
    A friend of mine from Salzburg is in NY right now, she was surprised to hear that Thanksgiving weekend is a very busy one in the States, and that on the holiday itself the stores will be closed (at least, they were still, three years ago).

    I think the dog is the St. Bernard puppy called "Beethoven", from the movie series of the same name.

    May your Thanksgiving weekend at the store not be too stressful, and lots of good customers buying useful things!

  6. Wow those balloons are enormous! I especially like the Shrek one!!
    Happy Thanksgiving from C and i.

  7. Wonderful pictured Frances - especially the ones of the children. The colours at the parade are beautiful - someday we'll have to make it to NYC in the fall and stay for Thanksgiving.

  8. Hello Frances,Lovely to hear from you. So glad to read you had your long holiday indulging in creative projects.  Your fair isle blanket looks beautiful. You certainly fill your days with so many of your varied interests and still find time to catch up with friends. It is always a pleasure to read your blog.   Best wishes Milly x

  9. I enjoyed the spectacle via your blog, what fun it must have been and how lovely to have a clear blue sky for the event.

    We saw Macy's at Easter one year, it was all decked out in flowers, also an Easter bonnet parade which went down to Central Park so I can well imagine how amazing this one would have been.

  10. I trust you had a wonderful time, Frances. How lovely to see this parade - it reminded me of the Disney parade I was once lucky enough to see at Orlando.

    CJ xx

  11. Lovely photos Frances. Wonderful balloons. Thanksgiving is a great tradition, especially having it on a Thursday so you get a long weekend and then the idea of keeping Christmas at bay until Thanksgiving is over. Thanks for sharing this.

  12. Those balloons are AMAZING! I love the dog in particular. Now have huge balloon envy!

  13. Hello Frances,
    Found you after reading PFG's Three Rs Blog.
    What wonderful pictures of your parade. I'd so love to see it one day — maybe with my grandson. We're living in San Diego at the moment, but are huge fans of New York. What a city!

  14. Dear Frances,

    I am so glad that I came to visit here, what wonderful photo's.! Love all those colourful Balloons, especially like the Elephant one too.

    How glorious that Parade must have been, so pleased that the sky was blue, and you had a wonderful ThanksGiving Frances, and thank you for sharing lovely post with us.


  15. Good morning, Frances. Another top blog, as I've come to expect. I've never been completely sure what Thanksgiving is all about, but I must confess I'm quite partial to a good feast! I loved your pictures, though, and the day looked fine but cold. It would be interesting to see how previous parades compared, before the advent of commercially themed mega-balloons.

    Anyway, a very happy Thanksgiving from all at Rot Towers.

  16. I love reading your New York posts as it helps me to imagine my son there too. He does not have the powers of description that you do, or perhaps it is more about lack of motivation to keep his mother informed! Anyway, now I can picture Thanksgiving in New York. Thank you Frances!

  17. Thank you Frances, firstly for explaining the timing of Thanksgiving to me and for sharing the parade with us... I do like the little one in her hat!

  18. But did they have an inflatable camel? Happy belated thanksgiving!

  19. Lovely images francis thank you ..

  20. Hello again Frances - I would love to email you as I am coming to NY in February and would be glad of your recommendations of places to visit! My email address is on my profile page if you feel you could spare the time to offer a few suggestions. Thanks :-)

  21. Thank you for your kind words on my blog.How did I miss this blog of yours? I am late to it but it is a great show for us of Thanksgiving in New York. Wonderful photos as usual, your posts always capture the very essence of whatever you are portraying.

  22. Thank you frances for visiting. I did enjoy reading about the parade and also enjoyed looking at your photographs. Which parts of UK have you visited?

  23. Frances,
    it takes 17,320 cubic feet of helium to inflate the parade's largest balloon, Hello Kitty (I came across this information in the November issue of "Real Simple" - yes, I love to read it, sweet memories of my old home *g*).

    Thank you for your very kind and encouraging comments on my blog,
    I appreciate them immensely.

  24. Thanks as always for your kind comments, I love to hear about your life in NY. I can picture the snow and Central Park and you baking cookies!

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

  25. Dear Frances,
    thank you so much for your Christmas wishes, I extend the same to you,
    may your Christmas be filled with joy and love,

    We celebrate on Christmas Eve, as all Austrians do, right now my husband and children are out to get some mistletoe branches for my fruitbowl, to which I will add my gilded Christmas baubles. A few more gifts to wrap, then we will go towards 4pm to Schönbrunn Castle, where the Christmas Market is still open, and we'll all have a mug of hot mulled wine.

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