Macy’s began inflating their Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons in the streets around the Museum of Natural History, between 79th and 81st street, at 3 p.m. the day before the parade, drawing huge crowds.
Visitors were allowed to enter the enclosure at 79th Street and make their way around the museum before exiting at the same spot. Police cordoned off the streets every few minutes to allow people to cross to the other side.
For Jamaina Barroso, a Brazilian visiting from Boca Raton, this was part of the Thanksgiving Day Parade experience. “I’ve seen the parade in movies and I wanted to see it in real life,” she said. “It’s a dream come true for me.” She planned on leaving for the parade at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving morning to get a good spot.
Another tourist, Susan Houser from Colorado, had lost her husband and son in the crowd when they went to the museum, and was trying to find them. “I don’t think I’m going to the parade, I have too many kids,” she said.
“It’s been crazy since about 4 p.m.,” said one NYPD officer. “There are lots of families out because it’s a warm day.” It was still 52 degrees at 6 p.m.
New balloons in the parade line-up this year included Hello Kitty, Papa Smurf and the Elf on the Shelf.