Pre-Thanksgiving Hell


So this evening I decided to take my daughter and son into Manhattan to watch the blowing up of the baloons for tomorrow’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

In these parts, it’s the late-November equivalent of spring training. Instead of dealing with the real event, what with the insane prices, the ungodly crowds, the traffic, the noise, etc—well, why not attend the more relaxed alternative? I saw the balloons being prepared three or four years ago, and it was really cool.

So I went.


Terrible. Absolutely terrible. Like spring training, this goes down as one of those things that, for the most part, has lost what once made it great. When I was a kid, spring training was a 100% chilled, relaxed, easy place to snag autographs and chat with the players and just hang. Now, however, it’s significantly more commercial—yet another way for MLB clubs to bilk fans out of their hard-earned money.

The balloon event is sadly similar. Macy’s set up a roped-in line that, to my chagrin, stretched more than two blocks and took roughly 1 1/2 hours to get through. There were people along the way peddling everything, from apple cider to glow-in-the-dark crap sticks. Because the Christmas spirit only runs so deep, folks were cutting the line at will, throwing elbows, etc.

Plus, it was raining.

My kids, age 6 and 3, were great. “Daddy,” my daughter said at her lowest point, “this is terrible.”

How could I argue?

It’s just such a shame when the quaint and obscure go prime time.

4 thoughts on “Pre-Thanksgiving Hell”

  1. Happy Thanksgiving! Do they still do the practice run at Giants Stadium? They would inflate all the balloons and walk them around the parking lot a few weeks before the parade. Of course, there might be just as many peddlers there, but at least you’d probably have a better view.

  2. The only thing like that which hasn’t yet lost its charm – as far as I know – is checking out the Mardi Gras floats during the non-Carnival season. It’s a little touristy but nothing like the hell you just endured. Happy Thanksgiving, Jeff!

  3. I’m sorry to hear something that could have been such an enjoyable event turned out so badly.

    But, the key, and you probably know and understand this, is you did it with your kids. You spent time with your kids that when they are our age, they’ll look back fondly on the experience.

    I didn’t have many of those moments as a kid, so when I’m in a similar situation with my kids, I grin and bear it. It’s not easy, but in the long run, it’s time well spent.

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