Spectators attending the 95th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on Thursday can expect heightened security and police presence although there have been no “credible and specific threats,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday.
City officials addressed the crowds at the Macy’s Balloon Inflation Celebration in the streets around the American Museum of Natural History on Wednesday night, who gathered to watch their favorite giant characters be inflated after the tradition was scrapped last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor de Blasio assured everyone’s safety as the largest parade in the world returns to Manhattan.
“There are no credible and specific threats against this parade and against New York City,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told the crowd. “There is extensive, extensive security, lots of precautions being taken, blocker vehicles at key locations. Amazing effort goes into keeping it safe.”
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea joined the Mayor on Wednesday in assuring New Yorkers that his department is well-prepared for the massive crowds they are anticipating.
“You are going to have thousands and thousands of men and women in blue all working throughout the night and through tomorrow to make sure that you have the greatest possible day tomorrow,” Shea said. “All you have to do is two things. Dress warm, and get out here early tomorrow and bring the energy. We’re gonna have a great day.”
Shea said spectators can expect a heavy police presence tomorrow both on the ground around the parade route and on rooftops as well as engaging in other “things you’re not gonna see.”
NYPD’s Chief of Counterterrorism Martine Materasso said that her bureau will be out on the streets tomorrow “in full force.”
“You’re going to see hundreds of cement blocks, sand trucks, blocker vehicles. You’ll see our explosive detection canines. You’ll see our heavy weapons and observation teams. You’ll see our bomb squad response teams, as well as biological and chemical sensors. And we gave over 300 extra cameras,” she said.
Mayor de Blasio noted the significance of this year’s parade coming back in “full strength” after it was demoted to a TV-only event last year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. He said this year’s parade is “going to be safe because people have gone out and gotten vaccinated in this city in a way that surpasses almost every place in the country.”
“It’s a very proud moment for New York City and it’s especially proud after what we’ve been through the last couple of years. It is beautiful to have this parade back full strength. It’s going to be a magical, magical, moment. The weather is cooperating, knock on wood. We have amazing balloons.”
Brooklyn Borough President and Mayor-elect Eric Adams also attended the inflation celebration on Wednesday night where he encouraged parade spectators to spend money tomorrow to support the businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
“This is the spirit and energy of our city. We’re out here watching people enjoy the balloons being blown up,” he said.
“I have one message, spend money. Not only on Black Friday but immediately after the parade. We just want people to come out and have a great time. This is what this city has to offer, this is what makes it special. You see some of the young people out here, these memories will last a lifetime.”
Adams — who will assume office at midnight on Jan. 1 — added that he has narrowed down the candidates for his cabinet positions, and will make an official announcement in the days after Thanksgiving.
This year’s balloons include new characters such as Baby Yoda as well as returning favorites such as Snoopy and the Pillsbury Doughboy. Other new balloons for the 95th parade include Ronald McDonald and Pokémon characters Pikachu and Eevee.
An estimated 3.5 million people attended the parade in 2019, lining the sidewalks along the 2.5-mile route from the Upper West Side to Herald Square. In 2020, the number of live participants was down 88 percent, and many of the balloons were recycled from previous years.