Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Will Go On, In a New Form

Photo by Stephen Harmon.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the balloon inflation the night before are two of the signature annual events on the Upper West Side.

The parade won’t be the same this year, but it also won’t be canceled entirely. It’s likely there will be virtual and on-the-ground events — probably a little like the July 4 celebrations.

Macy’s says on its website that “Following our successful, safe and innovative production of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks®, it is our intention to similarly reimagine Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this November. Stay tuned for more details later this fall.”

The mayor offered a little more detail this week, according to the website 6sqft, with some virtual aspects as well as “small in-person pieces, spread out.”

“It’s not going to look at all, of course, like what we are used to. But the important thing is that traditions will be kept in some way,” the mayor continued.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has only been cancelled three times in its 96-year history. This was due to helium shortages during World War II in 1942, 1943, and 1944.

NEWS | 27 comments | permalink
    1. Glo says:

      There’s a big difference between relocating fireworks and breaking them apart and creating an element of the parade. I wish them luck. Tough days ahead

    2. yoma says:

      Just cancel it. One year off won’t kill the largest spectacle in advertising in NYC. The risk far outweighs the reward.

      • Gail A Serfass says:

        And when they still don’t have anything to curb the virus and you are still shut down and your restaurants go out of business you will change your tune

    3. Robert K says:

      Wait loot Macy’s and still give a parade?

    4. James Frazee says:

      Thank you Macy’s for putting our health over the parade, yet offering us the joy of seeing the parade. I have watched the parade every year since I moved to NYC in 1999. It is a yearly tradition.

    5. lynn says:

      We’re still celebrating Thanksgiving? I thought that would be ‘cancelled’ along with everything else this year.

    6. Jeremy Levy says:

      I would like to see a documentary or virtual live event that covers the wonderful history of the parade. But the parade itself should be canceled in my opinion. There is no aspect of a parade that seems safe in these times.

    7. S says:

      Sorry, why are we cancelling the parade? The parade is OUTSIDE. This is just ridiculous. Covid is a virus like any other. Why didn’t we cancel parades and school for other viruses? We are literally NOT putting anyone’s life at risk for having a parade OUTSIDE. I can’t with this nonsense already. I 100% believe in every single thing science related, but there is no scientific evidence that states you can or will get a virus that is spread by saliva (sneezing etc) OUTSIDE. 2020 the year all science went into the garbage.

      • EdNY says:

        The danger of having the parade outdoors is not to the participants (who, I imagine, would be wearing decorative masks) but to the ignorant people who would show up in droves to watch, despite being requested to stay away. They would have to physically block off all the surrounding streets to prevent people from congretating. Is that the best way to do it?

      • Josh says:

        No, 2016 was the year science went into the garbage, at least in one particular big white house.

        And it is a virus that has killed over 176k Americans as of August 22. The flu kills 30-50,000 Americans annually according to CDC data (high was 61k in 2017-2018). So, in half a year, Covid-19 has killed about 4 times as many people as the flu kills in a full year. Just a virus like any other?

      • FP says:

        Your fatuous ignorance Re: all things Covid-related is truly breathtaking.

      • Brandon says:

        Actually, having a parade during a pandemic was tried in Philly in 1918 with disastrous results.

      • P Joplyn says:

        THANK YOU! Sanity firca change!

    8. Tam says:

      I’m shocked they have the funds to do this – same as I was over the fireworks. I was in the Herald square store today and it was a GHOST TOWN. It’s very sad days for businesses.

    9. John says:

      I’ve asked myself for the last 20 years how Macy’s stays in business. I still don’t understand it.

    10. chase says:

      was kind of fun to attend the parade as a kid. the tv show element as i’ve gotten older just strikes me as an annoying marketing bonanza. i’m prob not the target audience at all anymore.

      one of my favorite uWs pastimes, to this day, is waiting till about 3am and walking over to the balloons and checking them out up close.

    11. UWSMama says:

      So, just to be clear, massive protests in the streets are ok, but a holiday-oriented family-driven parade is too high risk? Ok got it.

      • Sarah says:

        Putting issues of relative risk aside, murdered black children are actually way more important than whether yours get to attend a parade. Hopefully yours will work it out for themselves, as it seems unlikely you will teach them this basic fact of human decency.

        • Susan says:

          Sara, you have managed to turn something that is completely unlinked to racism and managed to turn it into a racial issue. Please give us all a break and try to enjoy something—-anything!—-in life that is joyful. Life is short.

    12. AC says:

      The Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade is held up to a standard like NO other parade in the world. Do it right, or don’t do it at all! Like the generation of the 1940s, the American Fan will understand.

    13. Frances Meyer says:

      I agree, cancel it! A group of spread out events is not the same feel.

    14. Jayson David says:

      🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸tradition is nice but the safety of our citizens is always paramount. Good Call Macy’s and NYC🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

    15. Paul on W 67 says:

      It would seem to me that the parade itself is not the danger, as S pointed out, it’s an outdoor event. It’s getting all the people together before and after that poses the problem.

      Participants come from all over the country, by plane, bus, cars, etc, and stay in hotels, which means exposure to each other. A lot of people come from states which are currently experiencing spikes in the number of infections.

      People who come to watch the parade come by trains and buses as well. That puts them at risk of infection too.

      Plus. it’s always cold on Thanksgiving. Local restaurants are always full immediately following the parade. With no indoor dining, where are all those people supposed to go?

    16. Jade says:

      I agree the Macy’s Day Parade should be cancelled.
      The COVID-19 virus is at a low point for our city. We do not need to spike it up with a parade. New Yorkers will
      be at risk even being held outdoors. Remember the event rally that caused the death of a famous person! Who knows how many others not as famous came down with it?

    17. Kevin says:

      Why cancel it the Viral Therapeutics are on the way and the vaccines are just around the corner. The numbers are dropping and they will keep dropping. The CDC just reported that a person who contracts the virus is only contagious for 10 days then they no longer shed the virus. So much for the Asymptomatic theory. If folks keep listening to the media you will continue to shutter and fear this. It really has become a political wedge on both sides. Things will and are getting better and for those who think that I am whatever, I follow Dr. Jake Glanville from Centivax and was featured in the Netflix documentary Pandemic Preparing for the next Outbreak.