Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2016
We didn’t have any specific plans for Thanksgiving Day. We bounced around the idea of making a turkey, but before we went to the grocery store Philip suggested we go to New York City for the parade. At first I thought he was just spit balling ideas but sure enough he was serious! We both had work on Wednesday before thanksgiving and Friday after; so we contemplated leaving really early on Thursday for the drive. After some deliberation we option to leave Thursday after work. We looked into a few hotels but due to the high volume of people visiting New York City there wasn’t much to pick from. What the heck, we decided to pull an all-nighter. Of course with my luck work was really busy on Wednesday which made me ended up leaving work a few hours later than planned. I hurried home to shower and double check my packed bag. Then we set out to New York City.
We made good time while driving, everyone warned us that the traffic would be horrid, but it wasn’t! Thankfully! We have been to New York City a few times, but never experienced the top of the Empire State Building. Rumor had it that it’s a great experience at night. We arrived in the City at midnight, with Taylor Swift cranked up, “Welcome to New York”, obviously. We went straight to our parking garage which was at Central Park W. & 68th St, we pre booked with Park Whiz App a few days prior.
We layered up, and started walking towards Fifth Avenue between 33rd and 34th streets, the Empire State Building. We decided to hop on the subway to make better time. The Empire State Building closes at 1:00AM but from research we learned that they let people in until 1:15AM, so we hurried to get there before closing. We made it!
The view was pretty epic. We splurged and went to the top floor, 102. It was an extra $20 per person. Then stopped at the 86th floor observation deck on our way down. There were only a few other people with us, maybe 5 at most. We nearly had the place to ourselves!
We were ushered out around 2:00AM. We walked to Rockefeller Center. The tree was still in the process of being put up, and there were giant solider nutcrackers. We sat for a few minutes to have a snack which we had packed.
When we decided to do this trip, we jumped on amazon and bought a Thermos. It was affordable and saved us from having to purchase coffee throughout the night. After visiting Rockefeller we stopped at good old McDonalds and bought a few coffees, filled our Thermos and headed back towards our car. We selected the parking spot based on where we wanted to watch the parade from. We got back to the car around 3:30AM. We dropped off a few things at the car and walked the Central Park West before settling on a spot to sit at for the parade.
It was a long 6 hours but we made friends with our neighbors, who also scooped out their spots early. It was in the low 40’s throughout the night; it didn’t seem cold until we stopped moving. The thermos kept our coffee warm and was pleasant to sip on while our hands froze. Did I mentioned we completely forgot to pack our gloves?! Luckily, we were fine and we had packed extra socks, so I wore them on my hands.
The parade was definitely a sight! The balloons were big. Charlie Brown was among my favorites, and he was so neat to see in person. This type of experience you can only imagine seeing, but describing it isn’t half as good as experiencing it. I know that Philip has seen the parade on Television for many years, but even he admitted that the television doesn’t do the parade justice. The environment, the crowds, the police, the anticipation, it’s all a part of the experience that you don’t feel when watching the television.
A few tips for anyone thinking about doing this in the future:
-Bring chairs; although it isn’t necessary, and during the parade itself we stood, it would have been nice to have chairs to sit on while we waited. We lucked out and someone let us sit in their chairs.
-Don’t forget your gloves! It wasn’t horrible, but I did miss having them.
-Get to your spot early. We got there around 3:30AM/4:00AM. And shortly after the streets started to fill up. It was only Philip & I, so we could have squeezed in a lot of places, but if you go with more than one person you’ll definitely want to go early.
-Be aware there are thousands of police officers and other individuals working their butts off all night to make the parade happen. Bring a friendly smile for them.
-Don’t bother paying the extra $$ to go to the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building, the 86th floor was worth it and I actually liked it better.