Yes, it’s that most wonderful holiday of the year – Thanksgiving. And we get to celebrate it at Thanksgiving Central, New York City!
During Thanksgivings past, we used to be able to walk around the corner of Central Park West and stroll across 86th Street to look at Santa’s sled, parked right there, at the end of the parade. Then we could stroll down CPW on either side of the street and watch all the bands and helpers and floats getting ready. Long ago? No – just as recently as last year!
But in 2014, things are a bit different. Every part of Central Park West below 86th Street is blocked off, and only parade participants can be there.
Being locals, we knew how to get through the park to at least see what was going on. The weather was a bit raw, but far better than the rain and snow we dealt with yesterday. In fact, it was nicely brisk as we walked through the park, parallel to CPW, glimpsing the waiting floats through the trees.
And then we got to 81st Street, where balloons had been blown up around the Museum of Natural History last night. Many years ago, we could just stroll down there and walk among the balloons in the evening. Now, getting to see that event is a competitive sport, which requires determination and endurance as long queues are marched briskly along blockades that weave for blocks to reach the sacred area.
Our personal tradition is to watch the crowds on late Wednesday afternoons from our favorite bar at the Ocean Grill, right across Columbus Avenue. Much more comfortable.
We couldn’t get too close, but we did see some interesting things from our view near CPW. How about KISS being interviewed across the street? That was fun, especially with the Cirque du Soleil float inhabitants warming in the background, and Dora the Explorer with friends riding by in golf carts.
As for the balloons, we did catch a few waiting to emerge from 81st Street with their handlers. Exciting stuff on this exciting day, which even included Mount Rushmore!
To think we just went to South Dakota to see it, when all we really had to do was walk around our corner on Thanksgiving.
Sometimes, you have to admit there’s just no place like home…