Throwback Thursday: Photos of the Thanksgiving Parade in 1953

Macy’s started holding a Christmas parade through the city in 1924, and switched it to a Thanksgiving parade three years later.

By the 1950s, there were all sorts of marching bands and balloons, and spectators on both sides of Central Park West. Alan H. Pesetsky sent these photos of the Thanksgiving parade in 1953.

HISTORY | 12 comments | permalink
    1. Happy Thanksgiving! says:

      Wonderful photos – thank you for sharing them, Mr Pesetsky!

    2. Robin says:

      Macy’s did a great job with the parade this year, one of the best ever, especially considering all of the restrictions due to the pandemic. Thanks for the photos and thank you, Macy’s, for continuing a much-loved tradition.

    3. Brooklyn exile says:

      Evocative. What a seemingly innocent time, when children (and parents) dressed in their Saturday/Sunday clothes to watch a civic parade. All right, it was a commercial parade, but still.

    4. Lisa Alpert says:

      We’ve gone to the parade every year since 1988, when I first moved to NYC. Parents, parents’ college friends from University of Michigan, our friends, now our own kids, their friends. One of my dad’s friends used to bring something called “milk punch” which we only later learned it was laced with rum. Haha. We miss it this year! But sleeping in a bit later was not unwelcome 😉

    5. Koko says:

      THANK YOU a million times, Mr. Pesetsky! I was eight years old and there with my family every year. We lived on 78th Street at the time…when everybody wore a hat.

    6. P.Dale says:

      Thank you. Grew up in Manhattan, and I was there.

    7. Marianne Wurlitzer says:

      Thanks Alan H. Pesetsky for the photos. I still think the Macy’s parade, with the balloons down CPW and Central Park, is one of the best parades in the world. I think it is sad though that it has become so much more commercial and less focused on the balloons and marching bands.

    8. Al Francekevich says:

      Beautiful photos, Alan. The Central Camera Club boys (it was almost 100% boys in those days). We showed up for the setting up on thoseWest Side Streets, And were then all back in Brooklyn for lunch with our families.

    9. SBG says:

      Many thanks for these photos — it made me happy to see them. I came to live in NYC — first on Clairmont Avenue near Columbia — in 1959. Of course we went to the parade in the early 70’s when our kids were young.
      I agree that it’s too bad the parade has become so much more commercial & Show Biz in the last few years.

    10. Dom says:

      Back when people celebrated a holiday in earnest rather than protesting it for PC reasons.

    11. Ken says:

      I love the photo with the black kid — better dressed than the rest, too — standing shoulder to shoulder with his white coevals. Looks like a future senator or statesman of some sort.