Manhattan User’s Guide.com – whose e-newsletters I get and love – had a helpful history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which we five attended, overlooking it from our 4th floor office space at 36th and Broadway (doesn’t get much better than that except for 34th and Broadway…):
|Thanksgiving Day Parade|
|November 21, 2007|
|The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was in 1924, a long route that started at 145th and Convent and stretched to 34th Street. They borrowed some animals from theto liven things up. The giraffe had to stay home because it wouldn’t fit under the elevated tracks.After the first couple of parades, when it became apparent that the animals weren’t as kid-friendly as might have liked, they asked theatrical designer Tony Sarg to come up with some animal-shaped balloons. Felix the Cat, one of the first, was made at the Goodyear Tire company in in 1927.For a few years the balloons were released after the parade and anyone who found one was entitled to a reward at . But this was stopped in 1933 after a student pilot stalled her engine over Jamaica Bay trying to snag a cat balloon and two tugboats in the East River tore the dachshund balloon apart.By 1934, Walt Disney characters such as and joined the parade. During WWII, the rubber balloons were donated to the war effort and the parade didn’t resume until 1947. It then began to develop as we know it: floats, celebrities, bigger and better balloons, and national TV coverage.|
The boys, who had spent all of one night in Manhattan after a six-hour trip from Massachusetts the day before, were arisen at 6:50 a.m. to be able to leave the apartment at 7:30, no later, so we could get down to midtown and work our way through the huddled masses whose strollers often blocked the way and where Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cups littered the streets and flowered atop the garbage cans.
The weather was unseasonably warm (mid-50s), so windows were opened in our office and on floors above and in buildings around us. This also made for perfect paper airplane conditions (read: “temptations”), yet most launches did hyperspace dives down to the ground and crowds, and one skinned the blushing cheek of a teenage girl with the 150-strong National Cheerleading Association who was waving her pom-poms at a Hispanic couple from Bayside standing behind the police barricades. (I had seen a couple of these visiting cheerers and their coach on the subway a day earlier; the older lady was clutching the subway map…smiling…or terrified…not sure which.)
So before long the police came to our floor to tell us to close all windows, that having no child-safety window guards was an administrative breach in itself blahblahblah, as Cousin Martin from Texas would say. (My landlord has installed window guards in our apartment because of the kids and apparently already complained to the neighbors downstairs about the cost. I would smell a rent increase next November, except that our lease has the option to renew at the same rate.)
The previous night, Wednesday, we had walked down to Big Nick’s Burger Joint/Pizza Joint at 77th and Broadway, which is about nine blocks from home and to which I was duly impressed that the boys ventured with minimum complaint; I had expected groans and moans like those of the Israelites having been “liberated” from Egypt only to find that the desert was not all that the brochure had made it out to be. But we arrived and found a table outside for five, last one available, and ordered cheeseburgers and pizza. We were served by no fewer than three harried waiters, none of whom actually seemed to care that after three of us were served, the other two were not for some time, neither had we ketchup, mustard or salt. We put on some attitude (just enough) and a little volume and were promptly served the remainder of our victuals.
The big news is: the Freeman boys like New York pizza. And Big Nick’s pizza at that. Were this not the case, not only would we have a culinary emergency on our hands – for the boys’ standard menu of PB&J by Mom and pizza from Essex Pizza would be dramatically reduced, like by 50% – but also there would be a scandal that My Heirs would not like New York pizza. I would not be able to frequent the same social places. Barbers might sharpen their scissors a little too closely. Dogs would growl at me on the street. Ladies would faint, and stars would collapse into black holes.
On the way home we stopped at H&H Bagels – cash only – to pick up breakfast, and I was in time to stop in also at Zabar’s to get a 1/4 pound of Novo salmon for my bagel-and-cream-cheese. (To tell the truth, it was good, but a little too fishy for my tastes first thing in the morning. I much preferred Big Nick’s pizza.)
photos: pabloprdr, CNN