The 90th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began Thursday with an estimated 3.5 million spectators gazing in awe at the magnificent giant balloons overhead, and over 50 million more viewers enjoying it at home.
Among the balloons that will float on the 2.5-mile route to Herald Square, will be some new faces: Charlie Brown of Peanuts, Diary of A Wimpy Kid and DreamWorks’ Trolls.
Mayor de Blasio was thrilled at the start of the parade — but bummed about the absence of one popular balloon, Snoopy.
“Snoopy’s my role model, how can you take him out of the parade?” de Blasio said.
“I want him back as a balloon. We might campaign,” he joked.
“Come on. He’s Snoopy! He’s got panache! He’s got spirit.”
Among the VIPs in attendance for the ribbon cutting to open the march were some Muppets, including Kermit and Miss Piggy.
“Since our historic first march in 1924, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a call to celebration,” said Amy Kule, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Over the years…the annual march became synonymous with the start of the holiday season.”
The NYPD would be out in full force, Police Commissioner James O’Neill told parade hosts Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer.
He said 83 trucks filled with sand would be stationed at key points around the route cutting off traffic.
“There are a lot of uniformed cops, a few more than last year, there’s a lot of things that people aren’t going to see, there’s a lot of people in plain clothes, we have aviation up, we have a radiation detectors,” O’Neill said. “So come on down, the weather’s a little chilly but I’m sure it’s going to warm up, it’s going to be a great day and a safe day.”
Matt Murphy, 33, came from Naperville, Illinois, to enjoy the parade with his 10-year-old son Ethan and his in-laws.
“Yesterday we got to see them blown up so it’s cool to see them today airborne,” said Murphy, who was taking in the parade for the first time.
“Pikachu is my favorite one of them all, he hasn’t passed yet. I also like Trolls,” Ethan chimed in.
The parade has seen changes through the years.
Before the parade was condensed to its current route starting in the Upper West Side, the glorious march began at 145th St., and covered 5.5 miles.
For three years starting in 1929, the giant balloons were actually released into the heavens. Anyone who found the downed balloons was eligible for a Macy’s gift certificate.
Most things have remained the same, however. And the current co-host of the television broadcast on NBC, Matt Lauer, says that’s just fine.
“After 90 years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade still carries a sense of magic, innocence, Americana and tradition,” Lauer told the Daily News Sunday. “Aren’t those things we can all always use?”