Thanksgiving officially happens on Thursday, but it’s really a three-day affair — or six days if you eat turkey leftovers for as long as I do. Here’s a day-by-day guide to celebrating on the Upper West Side:
Watching Macy’s Thanksgiving balloons getting blown up is a spectator sport. The action happens between 77th and 81st streets from Columbus Avenue to Central Park West. There’s a a map of the viewing area here. It looks like the best place to enter is at 79th Street and Columbus.
There’s also a Thanksgiving Eve Carnival at The Anderson School on Columbus Avenue, between 76th & 77th Streets –- right across the street from the balloon inflation — from 4 until 9. There will be a Giant Inflatable Slide and a 62 Foot Long “Mega Thrill” Obstacle Course. Carnival games, popcorn, Cracker Jack and more. All rides & games tickets are $3 each or 4 for $10.
The new Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on 79th Street and Columbus is giving away hot chocolate giveaway from 6 to 8 p.m. If you’d like to make a donation: “All donations will be accepted to benefit the ART START organization. The purpose of ART START is to nurture the voices, hearts and minds of at-risk youth through creative arts workshops conducted daily inside homeless shelters and alternative to incarceration programs throughout New York City.”
You may or may not be spending Thanksgiving with the family this year, and if you need a place to go Trinity Lutheran will have a free dinner starting at 11 a.m.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade itself starts at 9 a.m. and will run from 77th and Central Park West to the Macy’s store in Herald Square. One little-known spot that is both warm and has a great view of the parade is the mall at the Time Warner Center on 59th Street. You can also watch from the Mandarin Hotel near the top of the building. Here’s a list of the 10 best buildings from which to watch the parade (many are private buildings and we don’t suggest you break in).
If you’d like to have someone else make dinner, here’s are a few listings (The Feast, DNAinfo) of restaurants that will be serving special Thanksgiving dinners, including Talia’s Steakhouse, Peacefood Cafe and A Voce. And here are details about the supermarkets than can save your Thanksgiving.
On Friday, if you want to really get an early start before shopping until you drop, Italian delicacy shop Bomboloni on 68th Street and Columbus is offering free donuts to anyone who drops by between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. From 7 am-10 am, shoppers will receive a free mini bomboloni with any purchase.