Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. An Institution or a Shit Show?

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. An Institution or a Shit Show?


shit showDaphne and I had the good fortune of being in NYC when the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade was happening. We staked our spot at 7am (having had no coffee for fear of a potty break – I know. Herculean effort for sure! I considered whether I was too vain to pee in my coffee cup using the weenis on the streets of New York. Answer was yes). We had a front row-ish spot. Ish because we were front row until special guests from the Marriott blocked our view just as the first balloon walked by.

I was in tears by the time we left there at 11.30am. Here are the top 5 reasons that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in NYC is a must see.

1. There were VIP bleachers directly across from us. I specifically chose this location knowing that the ‘shows’ like the bands or dancers will start their performances near the VIPs (or so one would think).

I was in parades as a teenager. Sometimes twirling baton but most often marching with the banner. It is cold and unrewarding but the only heat you can generate for yourself is when you start your ‘show’. You always perform in front of VIPs.

Not in the Macy’s parade. You apparently perform 1 block prior to and one block after the bleachers. I tried getting the crowd to yell 5, 6, 7, 8 and they did. The bands and dancers did not respond accordingly. The fact that dozens of strangers (and Daphne yelled with me to start the action had me laughing until I could have peed – if I had had liquids in the past 18 hours that is. #BringMeToTears1

2. We had plenty of time to hang around before the parade started. We talked with our neighbours and watched the goings on in the bleachers. We envied those seats. They had blankets. Until… the tree directly above them filled up with adorable little starlings. And I mean, filled. Those starlings obviously had their coffee before they perched there because, on cue, they began to poop in unison. VIPs scattered and had to stand, leaving a giant circle of bleachers empty. #BringMeToTears2 It was like poop karma. I loved it!

3. Just after the screaming bleacher incident the VIPs got the bright idea to feed the adorable starlings (they obviously failed the unit on the digestive tract in school). They laughed as they threw out bread and the starlings fought for it. Until… the adorable NYC pigeons got word. They scared those starlings. More accurately, they scared the poop out of those starlings. Right over the VIPs again. #BringMeToTears3 The pigeons later decided to bunk in the tree over the VIPs because, well, bread. Pigeon poop, for those of you who don’t know, is much larger than starling poop.

4. This fabulous NYPD officer was trying to get pedestrians off the parade route before the festivities began. He would politely tell people as they walked up the street that they had to use the sidewalk. They would look through him like he wasn’t there. He was a big boy. He was there. They would wave a paper in his face, check their phones, mumble something incoherent or just look the officer in the eye and ignore him. He, at one point, turned to me and asked ‘I am speaking English right?’. We all were starving for amusement waiting for the parade and the constant barrage of pedestrians with a blatant disregard for police instructions was all we had when the starlings were sleeping. #BringMeToTears4

5. By far, the parade participants that got the biggest round of applause was, you guessed it, Kiss. No. Meghan Trainor? No. The Snoopy balloon, it had to be him right? Nope. It was the poop squad that followed all the horses. I found it amazingly funny that the horses seemed to put on their show right in front of the VIPs, but we couldn’t get a trumpet to take interest. #BringMeToTears5

I think the Macy’s Parade should be on every bucket list. It is a spectacle that can only be appreciated up close. Although, NYC is often a spectacle on its own. Maybe that is what makes it so special?


  1. When I was in high school I was in marching band and one year we got invited to perform in the parade. However, our band director got into a snit about something and declined the invitation because he was mad at us. Every year when the parade it on TV I feel a little pissed off that I missed out on such an awesome experience. Well, in my mind it would’ve been an awesome experience. In reality, it would probably would have been an experience similar to what you describe (no bathroom access, lots of waiting, too many people, etc.). Reality is never as good as fantasy, dammit.

    • My mom wouldn’t let me participate in the Jeux Canada Games (probably just as lame as it sounds). I auditioned and made it in to the opening ceremonies. She got in a snit and refused to let me do it. That means it was the best thing ever and she denied her angel having the time of her life. Therapy has helped.

  2. I have never braved the Macy’s parade although I am an East Coaster and have been to NYC many times. I commend your efforts! I’m thinking I’ll give it a try one of these years – and I’m bringing black oil sunflower seed mix for the birds 🙂

  3. […] This time I am singing again because I know you can’t get enough of that. I get distressed by the lack of respect for Thanksgiving as a holiday in the US. It started last year when I was travelling to NYC with Daphne (my daughter, not her real name) over the holiday. We expected to watch the Macy’s parade, go to a show and watch a movie in our room after we found a restaurant serving turkey. We found every shop open and the city buzzing instead. WTF?! Can’t y’all just take one day to celebrate family? The next day was Black Friday for crying out loud, can’t you shop then? […]

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