I stopped posting my travel-related mini-stories, posts, in 2019. I ended my deanship in August 2019 and just a few months later many of us stopped traveling in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, time just got away. I posted a few short ditties and pictures on Facebook and while I enjoy these stories they are not the same as blog posts. It’s time to get busy again.
Recent trips to New York and New Jersey have been largely family oriented. I had estate business that needed attention and cousins to visit. Our trip in November was different.
I lived in the Bronx for most of the first ten years of my life. Later in life, I visited New York and New Jersey often. Not once did I see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in person. That changed in 2022.
Janet and I decided to go to New York City in early November. One of our good friends had unexpectedly passed away. His celebration of life party was scheduled in New Jersey for the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We decided to go in support of his wife and other family members. Then we decided to make a week of it.
On our list of to-dos for this trip to NYC we included: see the parade, attend a Billy Joel concert at Madison Square Garden, spend time at the MOMA, enjoy a new production of an old play, “Death of a Salesman”, and drive by some of my former haunts.
We planned to watch the parade on the sidewalk along the street near the hotel where we were staying. We studied the map of the parade route and booked a few nights at an Embassy Suites at 37th Street and 6th Avenue—the parade travels along 6th Avenue south to 34th and on to Macys. We would have to get up very early on Thanksgiving morning just to get a reasonable spot among our 2.5 million new best friends.
The night before the parade, we saw Billy Joel at the Garden. It was an excellent concert, much better than any of his shows we have seen in outdoor venues. We were seated next to a couple and their son. We soon learned that they were from Toronto, and we began to talk about our experiences last July in Toronto and Niagara Falls. This family was very nice and in about 20 minutes we were friends.
Our conversation continued, only interrupted by the start of the concert. We learned that they had two extra tickets to the parade, bleacher seats along Central Park West, the start of the parade route. They offered those seats to us. What luck! Of course we said yes.
On Thanksgiving morning, 6:30 am, we took a taxi to 75th and Columbus to meet our new friends. After several texts and some anxious moments, we found them. About 45 minutes later, we settled into our seats. For the next two hours, we were treated to marching bands, drill teams, clowns, floats, and balloons. The pictures below capture just a bit of what we saw.
In the chill of the morning air with sounds of the University of Missouri band playing, and visions of the SpongeBob SquarePants balloon passing by, I smiled. Ain’t this great.