Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation: Terrorists and Tourists Have Ruined This Event

Balloon being inflated at the NYC Thanksgiving Parade Inflation Celebration

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I have been swamped with work as the wedding season comes to a close, so my apologies for not blogging recently.  I’ll be back online soon, but in the meantime, I thought you all might enjoy photos from last night’s ‘Inflation Celebration.’  Enjoy the photos, as well as my review.

Balloon being inflated at the NYC Thanksgiving Parade Inflation Celebration

I should note that in thinking about my gripes about last night’s event, perhaps it is obvious that I have truly become a New York City elitist.  The ‘Inflation Celebration,’ as it is now called, used to be an event that only NYC natives knew about.  While the parade has always been terribly crowded with tourists, residents of this fine city knew that to truly get close to the balloons you should hike up to the upper west side and check out the balloons as they were being inflated the night before the parade.  There is still something amazingly surreal about seeing a giant inflated Pikachu just sitting on the street in front of an apartment building.  It is still an ‘only in New York’ moment as residents in the windows above look down on giant balloon characters while children on the street below marvel as their cartoon heroes come to life.

Now, however, the word is out and seemingly the entire city attended last night’s event.  I waited in line three hours to see the balloons, and I have to be honest — this will be my final year attending.  (And in case you are wondering why I waited that long, keep in mind that once you get in the line it is nearly impossible to escape.)  I think there were several factors affecting the wait time.  First, thanks to the terrorists, there is now a security line that you have to go through.  A police officer — and God bless all the many officers who were standing out in the cold to keep everyone safe and orderly last night — looks through your bag briefly with a flashlight.  The act, while I’m sure necessary, seemed like a pointless gesture of safety designed to simply add time to your wait.  Also, due to security concerns, the hours have  changed: the event now ends at 8:00 p.m., rather than 10:00 p.m.  I can remember going to see the balloons at a much later time when all of the kiddies were in bed.  Those times are gone.

Crowds waiting to see balloons being inflated at the NYC Thanksgiving Parade Inflation Celebration
This is what a three-hour wait looks like

More than the security check, however, were the number of people.  I spoke with a police officer while in line and he said that this was the biggest crowd for the even he had ever seen.  Couple the sheer number of people with the number of people holding up the line by having to take a selfie in front of every balloon, and you get a three-hour wait.  It was not worth it.

So there you have it: an New Yorker’s review of the Thanksgiving Day Parade Inflation Celebration.  I’ll have more news soon, I promise.

Balloon being inflated at the NYC Thanksgiving Parade Inflation Celebration
There were throngs of people selling these tchotchkes

Crowds waiting to see balloons being inflated at the NYC Thanksgiving Parade Inflation Celebration Kid watching balloon being inflated at the NYC Thanksgiving Parade Inflation Celebration Selfie in front of balloon being inflated at the NYC Thanksgiving Parade Inflation Celebration Balloon being inflated at the NYC Thanksgiving Parade Inflation Celebration Selfie in front of balloon being inflated at the NYC Thanksgiving Parade Inflation Celebration Balloon being inflated at the NYC Thanksgiving Parade Inflation Celebration Balloon being inflated at the NYC Thanksgiving Parade Inflation Celebration Balloon being inflated at the NYC Thanksgiving Parade Inflation Celebration

If you would like to see more images from my NYC street photography portfolio, then please visit my website — www.Kelly-Williams.com.  Better yet, see my ‘Inflation Celebration’ photos from 2014!

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