Balloon Inflation Event Will Have New Route and Extra Security Measures


Composite photo by Jeff Segall.

The Thanksgiving balloon inflation event on Wednesday night will have some new twists this year. Even the route is new.

The annual event will now start at 74th Street and Columbus Avenue before winding towards the Museum of Natural History. And it runs from 1-8 p.m., instead of the 3-10 p.m. time from prior years.

In addition, PS 334 is hosting its annual Macy’s Parade Balloon Inflation Carnival on Wednesday. It’s open to the public from 4pm to 8pm. “The carnival will include games, a bouncy house, concessions and a nationally renowned spiral potato food artisan.  We think your readers (and their children!) will have a lot of fun dropping by our Carnival when they go to see the Macy’s balloons.  We’re located just across the street on Columbus between 76th and 77th Street.  Oh, and there will be hot chocolate to warm everyone up!”

The police have released a list of streets that will be closed off. And there are several items that are banned:

Beginning at 7 a.m. Wednesday, November 22nd, 81st Street and 77th Street from Central Park West to Columbus Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic. The balloon inflation can be viewed by pedestrians from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. on 81st Street and 77th Street from Central Park West to Columbus Avenue. Pedestrians are advised to enter the viewing area from the East side of Columbus Avenue at 74th Street.  Inflation viewing spectators are reminded that no large backpacks, lawn chairs, umbrellas, large coolers or alcoholic beverages will be allowed in the inflation viewing area.

At 8 a.m. the following street will be closed to vehicular traffic:

-West 74th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenues

Additional vehicular traffic closures at Noon are as follows:

– Central Park West from West 73rd to 85th Streets

– West 73rd Street between Columbus and Central Park West Avenues

– West 74th Street between Columbus and Central Park West Avenues

– West 75th Street between Columbus and Central Park West Avenues

– West 76th Street between Columbus and Central Park West Avenues

– West 77th Street between Columbus and Central Park West Avenues

– West 78th Street between Columbus and Central Park West Avenues

– West 80th Street between Columbus and Central Park West Avenues

– West 81st Street between Columbus and Central Park West Avenues

– West 82nd Street between Columbus and Central Park West Avenues

– West 83rd Street between Columbus and Central Park West Avenues

– West 84th Street between Columbus and Central Park West Avenues

– West 85th Street between Columbus and Central Park West Avenues

– Central Park Transverse Road at Central Park West and West 81 St. (Both Directions)

After 10 p.m., 81st Street and 77th Street from Central Park West to Columbus Avenue as well as Central Park West from 59th Street to 86th Street will be closed to all traffic.

“Broadcast vehicles only” may park beginning at 9 a.m. on the east side of Columbus Avenue from West 77th Street to West 76th Street.  All Broadcast Vehicles must be off Columbus Avenue by 11:30 p.m.

NEWS | 16 comments | permalink
    1. Sean says:

      Before our world changed this was so much fun. I walked towards the parade last year and was so shocked to see trucks being used to block passage down the side streets up here and police in battle gear with automatic weapons. I went home and turned on the TV.

      • iloveaparade says:

        As is your right, but sounds like you are giving in just like “they” want you to.

      • wombatNYC says:

        +1 = events like this as well as Sports and Concerts have lost some of their innocence.
        The world of Virtual Reality will soon replace all of this . Communities , Neighbours and interpersonal relationships will be changed forever .

      • UWSHebrew says:

        Don’t forget who changed our world. It did not simply “change” out of the ether.

      • Ish Kabibble says:

        A new world indeed.

    2. ursus arctos says:

      This is very true.

      It was also a time when one could only encounter “a nationally renowned spiral potato food artisan” while playing Mad Libs.

    3. Juan says:

      I used to love going to see the balloons blown up, but it has gotten to be too much. I will officially turn it over to the tourists and the B&T crowd. They are entitled to come and I welcome their spending in our neighborhood, but I will pass. As the great Yogi Berra said, “Nobody goes there anymore. It is too crowded.”

    4. Eln says:

      My brother and I use to go early while our mother and grandmother cooked the turkey and sit on the sidewalk and watch. It was magical.

    5. Tracy says:

      How do residents of these blocks get in and out of their apartments on Wednesday? How do they load up their cars to leave for the holiday? New to the neighborhood and seeking advice!

      • John says:

        We’ve lived between CPW and Columbus on 81st forever, and indeed the event has — umm, ballooned — way out of proportion. Make sure to bring some ID with your address, show this to the cops on the corner who will otherwise tell you that you can’t enter. Forget about food delivery. Having people visit your home (e.g. for viewing party) can be tricky: make sure they can confidently state which address they’re going to, or if possible, meet small groups of visitors at corner and usher them in.

        Since the police now close off the streets even to tourists after 8PM or so, it’s after that that you can get your own best viewing — a perk of the residence (if you weigh that against the inconvenience!).

    6. Tim says:

      I was ambivalent about the carnival at PS 334 until I read about how there is going to be a spiral potato artisan, nationally renowned no less! 😀 Talk about sweetening the pot! Lol

    7. Cozmocharlie says:

      *sigh
      as us “old New Yorkers” remember, it was really a secret and you could walk around the museum late at night (midnight!) when they started blowing the balloons up. No security, no lines. A VERY cool, long time ago, NYC thing.

    8. ny10023 says:

      I agree, Sean.
      The trucks are parked so you can’t see the parade unless you’re physically on CPW. Why can’t they block the streets up at Columbus so those of us who live on these streets can at least get somewhat of a view? It’s not even close to being festive/fun anymore.

    9. m_pipik says:

      Don’t the residents of the neighborhood get any say in this taking over our streets?

      So now we can’t even do shopping on Wednesday without pushing through crowds.

    10. Lisa says:

      I remember when I first moved into the neighborhood, we could wander down to see the balloons inflate late at night – no lines, no crowds, no security. Just a few people from the neighborhood. I loved the event so much, I have been dragging my husband back against his will each year as the crowds and hassle grew and he declared that he would rather skip it. After last year, though, I have to say that I’m over it now too. It’s just not worth it anymore. The only true positive I can see now is that our local businesses get a great bump in revenues for a night.

    11. Ellen says:

      West 78th street dead ends at Columbus Avenue. Will Columbus be closed to traffic or just to parking? I’m parked on 78th between Columbus and Amsterdam and am wondering if I’m going to have a problem making a right on Columbus to head out of the city on Thursday morning…