Spending Thanksgiving in New York City

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade November 25, 2010

This year, my family decided to do Thanksgiving a little differently. Instead of my brother flying back home for the holidays, we went out to spend Thanksgiving with him in New York City.

Now that I’m back, when I tell people I went to ‘The Big Apple’ for Thanksgiving, there are a few questions that almost every person asks.

“Did you go to the parade?”

“Did you go black friday shopping?”

“Weren’t there, like, a million people there?”

“Did you actually have Thanksgiving Dinner?”

There is really one answer for all of these questions: “yeah, kinda, but not really.”

Let me explain:

Did you go to the parade?

At first, we had no intention of going to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

via nychabitat.com

via nychabitat.com

We figured getting up at the crack of dawn to stand in a crowd of thousands and just barely see anything didn’t sound all that fun. But when were we going to get this chance again? So we did the parade our way. The parade footage you see on TV usually takes place at Macy’s on W 34th street, which is the end of the parade route. The crowds there are absolutely crazy because that’s where all the celebrities are and all the performances take place there. My family found the parade on 59th street, about halfway through the route. We were able to get up at 7 or so, take the subway a couple of stops, and watch with a reasonable amount of people around us.

We also didn’t stay for hours. We saw a few balloons (Paddington Bear, Snoopy, and the red Power Ranger were the highlights), the Sesame Street float, and some famous people we didn’t recognize, and called it a day. The classic “We came. We saw. We left.” approach. To watch the entire parade takes hours, and when it’s over you’re tired, freezing, and 100% done with everything. Maybe other people would have more stamina than us, but we planned to ditch the parade after about an hour and a half and went out to Brooklyn for brunch.

Did you go black friday shopping?

If you’re asking if we started shopping on Thursday night, then no.

via time.com

via time.com

My mother has a strict “no shopping on Thanksgiving” policy (which I totally agree with). If you’re asking if we got up at 2AM for early morning deals, then definitely no. That was never even considered. Not a chance. If you’re asking did we do any sort of shopping on the day of black friday, then yes! We did hit 5th avenue for a short time. It was cool to see everyone out and about. For a short time. Then we pulled the old “divide and conquer” and parted ways until dinner. We all got to do what we wanted to do and no one went insane. Everyone wins!

Weren’t there, like, a million people there?

That really depends on your location. Times Square or 5th Avenue on black Friday? Yes. More people than I could handle. Brooklyn? Ghost town. Even some parts of Manhattan were far less busy than usual. My brother explained that few people who live in Brooklyn (or the parts where he lives and works) are originally from New York. There is a sort of mass exodus every year around the holidays when Brooklynites go home for Thanksgiving. It was very apparent that there were fewer people on the street and some subway stations were virtually empty.

Did you actually have Thanksgiving dinner?

Of course! Perhaps not in the traditional sense, but there was definitely a dinner on the day of Thanksgiving and we were all together as a family. My brother picked out a great Italian restaurant that had a special Thanksgiving menu. Let me tell you, pumpkin ravioli changed my life. My family enjoyed a beautiful Thanksgiving together, and, while it was different than all my previous Thanksgivings, it was incredibly special.