Sunday, November 27, 2011
The Shoot: Thanksgiving in New York
We did the whole Thanksgiving Parade thing last week. I was expecting it to be kind of enjoyable but mostly miserable (parades aren't my favorite thing to begin with, let alone the million people packed into a few city blocks) but it actually turned out to be great. We got there good and early but not so early that I wanted to die, which gave us a semi-front row spot to see the balloons above, the bands below and everything in between.
I have trouble standing for long periods of time. I'd love to say it's the result of some hardcore biking accident or that time I rushed into a burning building to save a liter of kittens (never happened) but in all actuality I'm just getting older, and my back hurts. So it was that after a while I threw caution to the wind and sat down on the sidewalk. Once I did I discovered that I wasn't alone and that I kind of loved the vantage point.
The entertainment can mostly be divided into three categories: float-based, marching-based and balloon based. For what it's worth the bands all sounded great, but they definitely had a noticeably better wardrobe budget compared to you average local high school on the fourth of July. The other march-based groups were just random performers, mostly adorned in vibrant pastels (see above).
I didn't get too many pictures of the floats. There's only so many ways you can put people in a vehicle and have them wave. Some notable guests, however, were Cee Lo Green, Miss America (underneath the giant liberty arm), Mary J. Blige and the man, the myth, the legend Neil Diamond.
And then, of course, there were the balloons. They ranged from the size of a Volkswagen beetle (a sad, sad little semi-inflated globe) to about the size of my house in Huntsville (Spiderman was particularly large). They were a lot of fun, and there's something eerily ominous about theses smiling mammoths bobbing down the city street. It's like a smiling Godzilla. The Pillsbury Dough Boy especially reminded me of the climax of Ghostbusters.
A notable inclusion in this year's parade was a Tim Burton balloon, sewn together from the scraps of parades-past. It looked exactly like what you'd expect -- the offspring of Sally and Jack Skellington.
We were in a great spot but a nearby traffic light kept ruining some of my angles. Plus an 8-foot-tall man in front of me had a tendency to stand up right as I opened my shutter. Every. Time.