An annual attraction of Upper West Siders and those beyond, the Macy’s Parade Balloon Inflation is a fun if not a bit chaotic event. Here are a few suggestions to make the experience better:
- Take public transport – crowds will make parking nearby nearly impossible and access to the area difficult for taxis. BUT, do NOT take the B or C trains to 81st St, you’ll miss half of the balloons! As you emerge in the middle of everything, police barricades will force you to go in only one direction. Instead, take the 1 train to 79th Street, walk east 2 blocks and enter at the beginning, at 79th & Columbus.
- The earlier you arrive, the less crowded it will be.
- Balloons begin taking shape around 4:30-5 pm, making that a great time to try to visit.
- There is a designated viewing path for observers. The path for the balloon inflation winds around the American Museum of Natural History, beginning at 79th and Columbus and travels along Columbus Avenue, 77th Street, Central Park South and 81st Streets.
- Bundle up! It’ll be around 47F Thursday night, with a light wind.
Want to warm up afterwards? The other day I was walking on the north side of 79th St. near Broadway and saw this delicious image of liquid chocolate in the Voila Chocolate window. Drool worthy, I know. I found out that these folks will be serving fresh handmade hot chocolate from a pop-up sidewalk stand on Wednesday to help keep balloon watchers warm. Yum!
SOURCE: voila-chocolat.com, gonyc.about.com