How to do Thanksgiving in New York right

Article by: CNN

CNN’s Forrest Brown and Jenna Scherer contributed to this report.

Editor’s Note — This article was originally published in 2007. It has been reformatted and updated.

(CNN) — On any given day, the hectic pace of New York streets may convince tourists that their eyes are better fixed on the ground ahead than gazing up at the sky. But during Thanksgiving, all that changes. The traffic stops and there’s something a whole lot more interesting happening overhead.
More than canned cranberry sauce and the Mayflower, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has become one of the most cherished symbols of the Thanksgiving weekend in the USA.
It’s the highlight of wonderful time you can have in New York over the Thanksgiving holiday. Check out the parade and other things you can do in New York:

The parade

01 macy's parade balloons

Felix the Cat was one of the first giant balloons to appear in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade in New York City, as much a holiday tradition as turkey, football and dinner-table debates, started in 1924. Balloons first appeared in 1927, replacing live animals from the Central Park Zoo.
courtesy Macy’s
32 macy's parade balloons
Dog (1929): In 1929, the balloons were equipped with safety valves that allowed helium to slowly seep out. The balloons would float for a few days and land somewhere with return address labels attached. If any viewers were lucky enough to find the balloons, they would get a special gift from Macy’s. That lasted for a few years. These days, the balloons are deflated after the parade.
courtesy macy’s
02 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Mickey Mouse (1934): Macy’s designers collaborated with Walt Disney to produce a Mickey Mouse balloon in 1934. Throughout the years, Macy’s has produced three more versions of the famous mouse: a more updated look in 1977, Bandleader Mickey in 2000 and Sailor Mickey in 2009.
NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
04 macy's parade balloons
Officer SOS 13 (1937): The police have always been associated with the parade, whether they are patrolling the streets or flying through the air as balloons. “Officer SOS 13” debuted in 1937 and represented the dedication of law enforcement officials.
courtesy Macy’s
03 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Superman (1939): “It’s a bird! It’s a plane!” No, its a typical joke that’s associated with the Superman balloon that debuted in 1939. The Man of Rubber has graced the parade with three different versions of himself, also in 1966 and in 1980. The third version is the largest balloon ever to appear in the history of the parade (104 feet long).
31 macy's parade balloons
Eddie Cantor (1940): Eddie who? Eddie Cantor, the “Banjo Eyes” song-and-dance man who had already peaked in popularity before he floated down Broadway. He is known for songs like “Makin’ Whoopee” and for being only the second balloon in the parade to be based on a living person (the Marx Brothers were the first). Cantor’s balloon doesn’t appear in the parade anymore, and neither do other balloons based on real people.
FPG/Getty Images
24 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Uncle Sam (1940): Two years after this, Macy’s brought the parade to a halt for the first time. World War II had started, and because of rubber and helium shortages, balloons were deflated and donated to the government. The parade came back in 1945 with a record-breaking 2 million spectators lining the streets.
NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
05 macy's parade balloons
Elf gnome (1947): The parade started being televised in the late 1940s. It first appeared on CBS, but NBC has been the official broadcaster since the 1950s. There have been a variety of hosts for NBC’s coverage of the parade, including Betty White, Ed McMahon, Bryant Gumbel, Willard Scott, Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry, Matt Lauer and Al Roker.
courtesy Macy’s
06 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Mighty Mouse (1951): Mighty Mouse soars above the crowd as he hogs the spotlight in his balloon debut.
Nick Petersen/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
07 macy's parade balloons
Popeye (1957): Popeye’s debut was marked by rainy weather in 1957. The spinach-eating sailor was constructed with an indentation on the top of his hat. During the parade, the downpour filled his cap with gallons of water and caused him to veer over the crowd, where he dumped cold water all over the surprised spectators.
courtesy Macy’s
08 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Donald Duck (1962): The iconic cartoon character makes his second appearance in 1962.
CSU Archives/Courtesy Everett Collection
09 macy's parade balloons
Sinclair Oil dinosaur (1963): The Sinclair Oil mascot looks as though it is diving toward the crowd during its debut in 1963.
courtesy Macy’s
10 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Underdog (1965): “There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!”
Paul DeMaria/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
11 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Aviator Snoopy (1968): Eight different versions of the Snoopy character have appeared in the parade, the first being Aviator Snoopy in 1968.
Hal Mathewson/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
12 macy's parade balloons

Kermit the Frog (1977): A “Muppet Show” ad promotes the launch of the Kermit balloon in 1977.
Courtesy Jim Henson Company
13 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Woody Woodpecker (1982): The Woody Woodpecker balloon makes its first appearance.
NBC/Getty Images
14 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Garfield (1984): Garfield’s grin keeps getting wider as technicians pump helium into the big balloon.
Bill Stahl Jr./NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
16 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Bugs Bunny (1989): Bugs Bunny floats over the Great Lawn in Central Park.
Monica Almeida/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
17 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Bart Simpson (1990): “Cowabunga!” Bart Simpson skateboards down Broadway as he makes his parade debut. In 1993, Bart split his seams due to extremely windy conditions.
courtesy Macy’s
18 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Izzy (1993): Izzy, the mascot for the 1996 Olympic Games, carries the Olympic torch.
19 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Blue (1999): The dog from the animated show “Blue’s Clues” floats high above the parade.
David Handschuh/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
20 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Jeeves (2000): The Ask Jeeves balloon casts a reflection in a Times Square window. Jeeves was the mascot for the search engine, then known as “Ask Jeeves.”
David Handschuh/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
21 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Pikachu (2001): The lovable Pokemon floats over New York in its first appearance in 2001.
Beth Keiser/ap
22 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
SpongeBob SquarePants (2004): SpongeBob left his pineapple home in the sea to attend his first Macy’s parade in 2004.
Gregory Bull/ap
23 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Scooby Doo (2005): The Scooby Doo balloon hangs over Central Park West as it is pulled through the parade in 2005.
Julie Jacobson/ap
25 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
Buzz Lightyear (2008): The “Toy Story” star floats down Broadway in 2008.
Joe Kohen/WireImage/getty images
26 macy's parade balloons
The Pillsbury Doughboy (2009): The 2009 parade route changed for the sixth time in parade history, and it was the first time it did not travel through Broadway on its way to Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
27 macy's parade balloons RESTRICTED
B. Boy (2011): B, designed by film director Tim Burton, floats in 2011.
Andrew Burton/ap
28 macy's parade balloons
Elf on the Shelf (2012): This balloon was created by Keith Lapinig of Queens, New York, for a design contest in 2012. The public voted for their favorite elf balloon out of 85 submissions.
courtesy Macy’s
30 macy's parade balloons
Toothless (2013): Toothless, from the movie “How to Train Your Dragon,” made its debut in the 2013 parade. Toothless was four stories tall, as long as 12 bicycles and as wide as seven taxi cabs.
courtesy Macy’s
It started in 1924, when European immigrants working at Macy’s department store decided to bring some of their hometown traditions to New York. They boarded glittering floats with 25 animals on loan from the Central Park Zoo to gave some European flair to their Thanksgiving fête.
The parade now unites millions of families across America who wake up early to watch the bands march across their TV screens.
Those willing and able to brave the sometimes cold weather and crowds line Manhattan’s streets to see the massive balloons up close. If you have mittens and enthusiasm, going to the parade is a worthwhile experience.
And after you’ve waved to Santa Claus at the parade’s conclusion and consumed enough hot coffee to banish your chills, it’s time to seek out other destinations in New York over Thanksgiving.

Central Park

Running from Midtown to Harlem, Central Park is a great place for locals or visitors to gather year-round. For fans of late autumn, it’s a wonderful respite. And a good bit of the 2017 parade route will go along the park, so you won’t have far to go after the parade.
Central Park has an interesting history.
New York’s population was swelling in the mid-19th century, so the New York State Legislature set aside a big chunk of land to create a public park. Landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux had to come up with what Olmsted called “the lungs of the city” after winning a design contest in 1858.
The park has evolved since then to become the showpiece it is today: a public space of forested paths, tranquil ponds and fountains, popular performance spaces and long stretches of green.


Who doesn’t love the Big Apple restaurant scene?
For a traditional American experience, sample butternut squash soup, traditional roast turkey and pumpkin pie at Fraunces Tavern (54 Pearl Street), a romantically rustic restaurant that George Washington frequented. Set on a quaint cobblestone street, this downtown brick mansion house will take you back in time — even if it’s not your own history.
Speaking of our first President, you can also visit Fraunces Tavern Museum and learn more about his role in New York in the Revolution. You can also go on a walking tour on November 25 and 26.
Does a coterie of swanky gourmet foods with a stellar setting whet your appetite? Try the Loeb Boathouse Central Park. After a leisurely stroll up the ever-so-fancy Fifth Avenue, enter the park at 72nd Street and amble past the greens toward this charming eatery.
And if you’re catching a Broadway show, check out Ellen’s Stardust Diner (1650 Broadway). Hear New York’s finest fledgling performers, wearing 1950s outfits, sing to you as you enjoy your burger and fries (a true American meal).


So you’ve seen the parade. You’ve walked around Central Park in its autumn glory. You’ve had a great meal. Now it’s time to do a little shopping, NYC-style.
Visitors may enjoy walking through the aisles of classic flagship shopping haunts, including:
— Barneys New York (660 Madison Avenue)
— Bergdorf Goodman (Fifth Avenue and 58th Street)
— Bloomingdale’s (59th Street and Lexington Avenue)
— Tiffany (Fifth Avenue and 57th Street)
If you’re looking for something a little more funky and offbeat (and maybe less expensive), browse the vintage boutiques and thrift shops in the East and West Villages, the Flatiron District and Canal Street instead.