I have to admit: I wasn't initially wild about the idea of going to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. The simple reason: I was kind of having flashbacks to the idea of going to New Year's Eve in Times Square in 2001, when I lived in NYC. Not that I went — I didn't — but the horror stories of being penned up for six hours in Times Square still resounded in me.
The Macy's parade wasn't like that at all. It was great! And I should have known — it's one of the most venerable parades in the world, right?
So we went this year, Lucy and I, and it was a hoot.
Sure, we were late — pretty late. But when we came up out of the 59th Street Columbus Circle subway stop to throngs of people under the spell of Sailor Mickey, delight — not anxiety — set it.
It's true that I did a bit of strategizing the night before, but they were thrown completely to the wind (even I'm not dumb enough to try to convince NYPD to let me squeeze through to somewhere they don't want me to be.)
After wading in the crowds some, we wound up on the west side of 56th, as the parade moved down 7th Avenue in front of us, the adjacent buildings acting kind of like the sides of a giant TV set. In time, we casually weaseled our way nearly to the front, a scant 20 feet or so from the passing parade.
There's no denying the delight of those giant balloons. In some ways, they're not as big as I thought they were, but rest assured: they are plenty big.
After the parade, Lucy and I found ourselves somewhat hemmed in by meandering foot traffic by the thousands and made an unlikely exit: down the street elevator to the 57th st./7th ave. subway station. It was kind of like a movie: One minute lost in a sea of bodies, then pouring ourselves into a very full elevator; then doors closing and unlikely quiet; and finally doors opening onto a delightfully less-crowded underground world.