The Eve before Thanksgiving: How It Is Almost More Fun than the Actual Event

Food, drinks, friends – Thanksgiving can be lots of fun if celebrated with the right kind of people and right type of booze in your hand. As you can tell by yesterday’s recap, the past five Turkey Days had been eventful in themselves.


Of course the Macy’s Day Parade is one of the biggest events in America to be broadcast all over the US on that day. However, after attending it in 2010 and not being overly impressed by the blow-ups, the masses, and the view I had or didn’t have (obstructed by a ton of other people), I decided to go a different route. Instead of observing the parade, I decided to watch the balloons upfront the night before. Luckily, this is possible: On the Upper West Side, close to the Museum of Natural History, there are two “camps” built up, representing all of the balloons that are being used the next morning. Each balloon is tied down to the ground with ropes and strings, so that it won’t fly away, while air is being pumped into it.

Over the past two years, it’s become almost a tradition in my life to check out the Night of the Balloon Inflation. A friend of mine had attended this event in 2012 and the way she described it to me had sounded interesting enough for me to check it out the following year.

Spiderman and the masses in 2013
Spiderman and the masses in 2013

So in 2013, my friend Vik and I strolled along the Upper West Side and gawked at admired the great balloons that were being blown up in front of our eyes. From the Doughboy over Spiderman and Power Ranger to Spongebob Squarepants – there were some really fun and interesting characters. Of course the Night of the Balloons has turned into a complete tourist event (as so many other things do in the Big Apple) and we were probably two of the few locals among the crowds of Southerners, Midwesterners, Europeans, and, and… Nonetheless, it was still great fun.

I therefore decided to introduce another New York local to the event this year. While last year we had gone quite early at around 7ish, this year we were hurrying over to the Upper West Side rather late. The event shut down at 10 pm and we arrived at around 9 pm. It was an icy-cold November-night, with snow and rain dripping into our faces. Despite weather and slippery roads, we still had a great time. And the balloons were almost fully inflated at this point. Luckily, we managed to avoid the bigger masses because people tend to go to this earlier during the day, since they like to bring their children and strollers and whatnot. We therefore didn’t have the problem of having to push through to the balloons but on the downside it was also hard to find people who were willing to take our picture.

Macy's Day Parade headliner
Macy’s Day Parade headliner
Power Ranger!
Power Ranger!

It seems that every year a new balloon is being introduced to the Macy’s family. This year it was Pikachu.

Pikachu's First Flight!
Pikachu’s First Flight!

The very next day the same friend invited me to a party in Bedstuy and we watched the balloons in action from the comfort of our home as the Macy’s Day Parade was broadcast on TV. It was icy weather on Thanksgiving Day, too. We were glad to have seen all of it the night before instead of waiting hours in the freezing cold to witness the parade.

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