This year, we were invited to sit with 20th Century Fox at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to witness the balloon debut (or return) of Harold the baseball player, who appeared in the Macy’s parade in 1947 and was used in the filming of Miracle on 34th Street. In honor of the 70th Anniversary of the movie, the Harold balloon appeared in black and white.
I have gone to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade pretty much every year of my life, so finally having front row seats to all the action was like a dream come true.
When I was little, my mom would wake us up ridiculously early and we would drive in from Long Island, my parents fighting over where would be the best vantage point with the least amount of people the whole way there. God only knows where they parked because back in those days, my dad definitely wasn’t paying extra for a parking spot.
I remember being bundled in winter layers and winter gloves, trekking through Manhattan until we saw the crowds. Every year, I’d think, we are not going to be able to see anything! And then my dad would lift me on top of his shoulders or stand me up on the edge of lamp post and I’d stretch my neck as high as possible so I could see the tops of the parade floats. I could never get a good view, so I would mainly look up in the sky to see the balloons.
I remember, one year, my dad brought a ladder to the parade and it was the best thing ever. We thought we had totally beat the system and then the next year, ladders were outlawed. If you heard that news back in the ’80s and were like, who the hell would bring a ladder into Manhattan to watch the parade? Well, you have my dad to thank for that.
After college, we always viewed the parade from indoors. No, not on television. We would go to whoever was working at an office building on the parade route. I worked in an office that was a block away for awhile, and you could see a little bit of the parade but it didn’t exactly pass by. Mike had an office on the route for awhile but he was 26 floors up so we would all gather to eat bagels and watch the backs of the balloons pass by every year. It was fun, but way too high.
One year, we were invited to my stepfather’s lawyer’s office and that was truly exciting. He was on the second floor and the balloons passed right by the windows. We were all gathered in a conference room and then suddenly, a gigantic Sonic the Hedgehog would fill the floor to ceiling windows and float past.
But never, have I ever, had as good a vantage point as I did at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Our seats were in the bleachers at the start of the parade on 77th St. and Central Park West. We had tickets and reserved seats— something I didn’t even know existed!
Mazzy and Harlow weren’t that excited to get up early, put on a million layers, trek all the way to the Upper West Side, walk through massive crowds and stand in the freezing cold to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but once the parade started, all was forgiven.
THEY HAD THE BEST TIME.
Of course, they didn’t appreciate our VIP spot nearly as much as Mike and me, who know what an honor it was to stand in a spot where you could actually make out the features on the celebrities faces on the floats going by. We literally brushed shoulders with Bill De Blasio, while crossing the street on the way to our seats.
Mazzy and Harlow went crazy over Jojo Siwa (WHOO????) and Sabrina Carpenter (WHAAAT???) while Mike and I were pretty excited to see Jimmy Fallon and the Roots and the Goo Goo Dolls. We even had a good laugh over 98 Degrees.
In my opinion (although Mazzy would disagree), the balloons are still the most exciting thing to see. Harlow’s favorite was Pikachu and my favorite was Charlie Brown.
I couldn’t believe the shot I got of the Grinch. I mean, you need the good seats to get that shot!!!
Even better than watching the kids excitement (“Those are the real Sesame Street characters, Mom!”), was watching my very hard to impress husband Mike. “This is really cool,” he said to me at one point. AGREED.
Thank you so much to 20th Century Fox for making my Thanksgiving Day dream come true. My dad called me after, because apparently, he had seen my story on Instagram. “Where were you sitting???” he asked. “It looked like you had really good seats!”
“We did!!!! We were in the bleachers at the start of the parade!”
“How did you get those seats?? Don’t you need special tickets?”
“Yes! We were invited by 20th Century Fox to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Miracle on 34th Street.”
“That’s great. I’m proud of you, hon. Remember the year I brought the ladder?”
“Of course, I do, Dad. It’s ingrained in my memory forever.”
Check out a little bit of my family’s experience at the parade in the video below! You can get the original Miracle on 34th Street on Vudu here. And stay tuned for more. We’ll be visiting Santa at Macy’s Santaland soon!