Friday, November 28, 2008

A Big Apple Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! We had a great Thanksgiving, and I had a great visit with my dad. We did so many fun things and I took nearly 200 pictures over the last week, so I'm going to split my recaps into two separate blog posts. Today I'll tell you about our Thanksgiving, and later this weekend I'll recap the rest of the visit with my dad.

Our Thanksgiving celebration really got started on Wednesday night. My dad had to spend the night in New Jersey for rehearsal with the marching band, and then he just stayed in a hotel there with everyone else because they had to leave at 2:15 a.m. to rehearse in front of Macy's. So, Eric and I had the night to ourselves to prepare for Thursday. When Eric got home from work, we had dinner then I made a sign for the parade on Thursday, so that my dad would be able to see us in the crowd:

My sign: "NY Hearts the Rounders!"

Then, we went out to see the balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade being inflated! It was amazingly crowded, but we're glad to have done it. I had pictured it as being sort of a free-for-all, where you just wander around and see the balloons, but it was very structured. There was a certain entrance and exit point, and they just shuffled everyone along that path very quickly. And really, there were just so many people. For you St. Pete people, it felt like walking through Ybor at Gasparilla or Guavaween. But we're glad we went!

Me with one of the Macy's star balloons

Eric with the Snoopy balloon, his favorite! Unfortunately, Snoopy's face was turned away from us.


A sampling of the balloons we saw

After the balloons we walked back home and did some prep for dinner on Thursday. I made the pumpkin pie, we came up with a turkey plan of attack, and we set up the Christmas tree (it's tradition in my family to trim the tree after Thanksgiving dinner...sadly, we were too tired to get it trimmed on Thanksgiving this year, but there was a lot going on so I think it's okay to make an exception! We'll get it done this weekend). Then we went to bed to sleep for a few hours before getting up early to go to the parade.

We left our apartment at 7:15 a.m. on Thanksgiving to find a spot to watch the parade. Already, we couldn't get any closer to the street than at least 6 people back. It was amazing how early people get there! But, we found a pretty decent spot in Columbus Circle and then stood there until the parade began. By the time the parade got down to where we were, it was about 9:30, and it finished up around 11:30. We had bundled up in our warmest coats but the longer we stood there, the colder we felt, which was kind of unpleasant. But once again, despite the crowds and cold temperatures, we had a great time and are so glad we went! Here are some pics of the parade action:

Camped out in our spot, waiting for the parade to begin

Here come the clowns! "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: The Longest Running Show Down Broadway." Get it???

Pilgrims atop a turkey

A woodland creature Thanksgiving feast

Peanuts float, and on the left (on top of the red steps) is Uno the Beagle, of Westminster Dog Show fame
(the first beagle to win Best in Show in Westminster history!)

Sesame Street float

M&M's as notable Broadway figures, such as Elpheba from "Wicked" (the green M&M on top). And speaking of Elphaba, Idina Menzel was on this float!

David Archuleta! And the "Little Shop of Horrors" plant, apparently. I didn't really follow the theme of this float.

Statue of Liberty and Miss USA

Care Bears float and Kristin Chenoweth


A sampling of the many balloons of the Parade

Just past the half-way point in the parade, it was Second Time Arounders time! My dad was on the end of a row on our side of the street, so we were able to spot him with no trouble. And thanks to my trusty sign, he spotted me too! So I got to wave and cheer him on and he was able to see it, which was very cool. The whole group looked great and I was very proud to have a connection to them. Some people around us asked me about them when they saw me jumping up and down and cheering for them, so I explained who they are and the premise of their group - that they are made up of people ranging in age from 18 to 85 years old, who have marched in a high school or college band in the past and want to have another go at it. Frankly, I'd love to be a 'Rounder if we were still in St. Pete!

Picture my dad sent me from of the band marching down Central Park West

Back to our spot in Columbus Circle - here they come, we can see the blue coats and white hats!
This picture also gives you an idea of how far back in the crowd we were, despite getting there an hour and a half early.

Getting closer!

There he is!!!

Goooo Dad!

Hooray, 'Rounders!

Another photo courtesy of, of the 'Rounders performing their show in Herald Square. This is what you saw on TV!

And before we knew it, it was time for the Big Finale - Santa! He was rather jolly.

Reindeer, Christmas Tree People, and Santa!

Shaking his belly like a bowl full of jelly

Overall, our first Macy's Thanksgiving Parade experience was a success. And now, we can cross it off our list of must-do things, so if we never want to do it again, that's okay! Next year we can sit in our apartment and sip hot chocolate and watch the parade on TV if we so choose, without feeling like we need to get out there. So that's nice...and we'll see what we end up doing in the future!

Me at the end of the parade

Eric in the street as the parade continues on behind him

After the parade we hurried back to the apartment to check on the turkey (which had been cooking while we were gone) and get going on the rest of the food. Eric was in charge of the turkey, and I took care of the rest. My dad got back to the apartment not long after we got home, and we ate within an hour of his arrival. And not to toot my own horn, but my, was that a tasty dinner! We had all the traditional stuff: turkey, stuffing, homemade mashed potatoes, rolls, and green bean casserole. And pumpkin pie for dessert, of course. Yum, yum!

Peeling the potatoes

Stuffing, gravy, warm apple cider, and a big ol' pot o' potatoes!
The best part of being a grown-up and cooking your own Thanksgiving dinner: you can make as many mashed potatoes as you want. And I wanted A LOT.

It smelled so good, he could hardly wait to dig in

The W. family and our Thanksgiving spread

After dinner we watched football and tried not to fall asleep until my dad had to leave for the airport. Then we hailed him a cab, said our goodbyes, and the visit was over! It was great to have him here for Thanksgiving.

Eric and I spent the rest of the evening relaxing. Lots of turkey and physical fatigue make for a mellow evening. The most mellow of all of us was Achilles, who had eaten his fair share of turkey throughout the evening. He found himself a good spot to sleep on the couch and remained there, essentially comatose, all night long!

He was out cold. We had to keep checking to make sure he was breathing (he was, no worries).

And that was our Thanksgiving! It was really wonderful. I hope you all had an equally wonderful day. Stay tuned for more details about my visit with my dad later this weekend!


Dad said...

Spending time with a sharing your first Thanksgiving in NYC was THE highlight of my visit.

Kathleen said...

Thanks for alll the pictures I missed the parade because I was driving to Michigan. So it was wonderful to have so many pictures.
Happy Thanksgiving
Aunt Kathy

Lauren said...

Looks like you guys had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Congrats no your first spread it looked awesome mmm!