Photo Gallery: Happy 700-Pound Monsters Come to Life

By Scott Lynch

The annual balloon inflation has been an Upper West Side Thanksgiving Eve ritual since at least the 1970s. On Wednesday afternoon it once again attracted tens of thousands of festive-feeling spectators to watch Charlie Brown, Frozen’s Olaf, Jett from Super Wings, Paw Patrol’s Chase, and a dozen other licensed cartoon characters and commercial mascots rise from flat on the street to full and ready to fly.

This is a huge undertaking. According to Macy’s Studio Vice President John Piper, the crew of more than a hundred inflation technicians spend all day laying out the balloons on West 77th and 81st Streets, and then blasting them full of helium from one of four gas-tank trailers. Empty, these monsters weigh between 400 and 700 pounds; once full that drops to around NEGATIVE 350 pounds.

The NYPD was out in force all around the area, with dozens of officers from at least five different departments watching over the event. The new start time of 1:00, and a security line that stretched for blocks down Central Park West, diminished neither the size nor the enthusiasm of the huge crowd.

All photos by Scott Lynch.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 5 comments | permalink
    1. Jill says:

      Great photos Scott!!

    2. Jamroro says:

      Too crowded (at 6pm)

    3. Marci says:

      Here are the rest of the balloons

    4. Oona says:

      What a Country we have become when officers armed with machine guns petrol the Thanksgiving parade.

    5. dannyboy says:

      Happy Thanksgiving all!