One of the most iconic aspects of New YorkCity is its holiday season spectacles, everyone dreams to have their own Home Alone-style moment standing in front of the huge Christmas tree posted up in the Rockefeller Center. However, there are few events more anticipated than The Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade that marches through New York City into Herald Square. Santa Claus lumbers off his sleigh and officially brings in the holiday season and begins the countdown until Christmas. With 2 and a half miles of vibrant floats, marching bands, and the eyes of the country watching, this parade has become an all-American favorite.
On November 27th, 1924 the very first Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade took place, spanning only two blocks the parade was a much more humble version of the elaborate parade we see today. However, back then it was the ‘Macy’s Christmas Parade’, and indicated the beginning of the shopping season for retailers and their busy season. Macy’s had a lot to celebrate at the time, the retail giant had just expanded its flagship New York store, it took up an entire block extending all the way from Broadway to Seventh Avenue along 34th st. While the first parade was extremely iconic, the parade floats certainly weren’t the most spectacular we have seen in the Macys Parade. Inspired by the fairytale theme of the Macys windows that year their floats depicted classic characters like Little Miss Muffet and Red Riding Hood.
B. Boy (2011)
Tim Burton’s original character B.Boy was brought into the parade in 2011, however, this wonderous balloon wasn’t created for the parade but rather an exhibit that had been at the Museum of Modern Art the prior spring. While this haunting character screams Halloween and not so much gathering around the turkey, it was a part of the Blue Sky Gallery, which is an important aspect of the Macys parade. Blue Sky Gallery is a tradition for the parade, the parade will have one balloon created by an artist that doesn’t quite fit the theme of the rest of the event, but it is always mind-blowing.
Betty Boop (1985)
In 1985 sitting on an adorable moon donning a red top hat and an outfit that can only be described as a Rockettes uniform with a jazzy twist, Betty Boop celebrated her 55th birthday by turning heads at the Thanksgiving day parade. Everything about this screams the 80s, with her intensely red outfit and overdone makeup she looks like your classic 8os woman, which is what makes her so perfect! While we may not associate betty boop and her borderline sexual aura with the holiday season, I think we should take a page form the 1985 book of thanksgiving and bring betty boop back into our holiday celebrations.
Celebration Gator (2021)
In 2021 New york got a taste of how things are done in the parade capital, Lousiana. With a 60-foot long alligator float featuring those famous New Orleans balconies and New Orleans’ pride and joy Jon Batiste. Academy Award winner, Golden Globe winner, and all-around amazing musician Jon Batiste being the crown jewel of the float completed an entire performance for New Yorkers and American everywhere. The float included the vibrant colors of the Big Easy, its stunning architecture, and even some impeccable creole fashion. The float was also accompanied by people walking in baby alligator costumes and stilt walkers, ensuring that the bizarre New Orleans charm wasn’t lost on anyone.
Kermit The Frog (1977)
Everyone’s favorite frog first made his debut at the Thanksgiving parade in 1977, back then he floated over the city streets with people dressed in frog costumes ensuring he would float away. Kermit quickly became a parade favorite, standing at 63 feet tall his green grin captured the hearts of many and he remained in the parade until 1987 and made a comeback in 1990 after the death of his creator Jim Henson. The Kermit float became the first ever Macy’s parade float to appear out of the US as it was shipped to England for a celebration in 1979. Hopefully, Kermit will return again!