Friday, November 17, 2006
Macy's Day Parade
One of the greatest things about Thanksgiving in this town is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Remember watching it as a kid on tv? When I watched it I thought that the crowd seemed very noisy, and that the parade was just balloons walking down the street. As it turns out, being there in person is quite different from watching it on tv.
The first thing that struck me about the parade, is that even though there are thousands of people on the streets watching the parade, and the band is noisy and the people are cheering, it is quieter than I thought it would be. Maybe because Katie Couric and Willard Scott were always sort of YELLING into their microphones, I thought I would have to yell to talk to my family and friends, but that isn't the case...and when there are pauses in the parade, it is quiet because it is the winter air that invites that still and quiet. It's hard to explain, but true.
I love that aside from the occasional grumpy viewer, most people are really thrilled to be there and the atmosphere is totally festive: Happy Thanksgivings's are exchanged, the pace of walking is cut down from a frantic power walk, to a stroll, and there is a lot of smiling and looking at each other in the eye, which will all fade the next day.
I love watching the people in their apartments open the windows or walk out onto their balconies to watch the parade. Last year there was a beautiful greyhound dog perched on the sill, watching the parade go by.
I love the Macy's workers. It is my goal SOMEDAY to walk in the Macy's Day Parade. I will have to get a job at Macy's first, and then go to clown school, but I am up for the challenge for sure. There are SO many clowns, and balloon holders, all dressed up to match each other or match their balloon.
This is a side of the parade that you cannot experience from televsion. The parade for the locals is more about the "little people" making it all happen, then the big balloons. Last year we must have had at least 20 clowns stop and throw confetti at us (speaking of confetti, I find pieces of it up to 6 months after the parade, while cleaning my house), one clown donned my daughter with his giant glasses, another picked up her friend and gave her a clown nose, and a fourth stopped and dance with my Dad for a few minutes...that personalized attention really makes the parade, especially for the little ones, oh, and the grandpas.
I also love events that touch so many people. I am always amazed at sporting events when the entire crowd sings together the National Anthem or during the seventh inning stretch, and this is a similar phenomenon. Being in the throngs of people reminds me that EVERYONE is celebrating at the same time. We are all eating turkey and showing gratitude together, at the same time. I think it is the closest we come to being truly peaceful, and it's one day a year.
I love the subway ride home, talking over the morning's festivities with each other, and anticipating the smell of the turkey that has been cooking all morning, as soon as you walk in the door. It truly is one of my favorite events of the year, and I hope someday you will come to NYC and experience it too.