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    Posted November 23, 2012 by
    JodiKaplan
    Location
    New York City, New York
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Who’s at your Thanksgiving table?

    More from JodiKaplan

    NYC THANKSGIVING – MIDNIGHT PARADE

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Tucked up as though asleep, these huge inflatable helium balloons were part of Macy's annual Thanksgiving parade and captured by iReporter JodiKaplan. "The Thanksgiving parade in New York this year really is symbolic to New Yorkers as emblematic of our resilience following Sandy," she said. "We are able to have our favorite annual event despite the recent weather devastation." The surreal scenes were made even more unusual by the fact that some of these images were taken in the same Upper West Side area where our iReporter had captured some of the aftermath of the Superstorm. "It feels odd that the same streets that were covered with branches, limbs and fallen trees are now decorated in colorful, happy balloons only a few weeks later," she said. "But it also feels hopeful to see the magic."
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a tradition. A celebration. A symbol. Of NYC at its finest. Big balloons blowing into figures of familiarity. Connections to our culture. And each other.

    There is another tradition. The night before. When the preparation becomes the spectacle. Surrounding the Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the birth of the balloons begins. They push and shape into fetal forms of recognition. Believe Stars. Pillsbury Dough Boy. Ronald McDonald. Charlie Brown. Mickey Mouse. Icons of the USA. Thousands come to witness this chrysalis.

    By 10pm the crowds disperse and the balloons settle, sleeping soundly before their big day. Tucked gently into yoga child positions and covered with blankets of netting to ensure their safe slumber. They dream to awaken as sources of wonder.

    This year is the NYC Thanksgiving season post Hurricane Sandy. When locals need escape. Wish they could forget. And the parade provides a respite from the harshness of the last month. Only two weeks ago trees and branches still lay scattered where the balloons and floats now gather. Bare trunks and missing limbs create extra space to disclose the evening’s glow of festivities.

    At the stroke of midnight the parade begins. The pre-parade that is. Of floats secretly arriving across West 86th Street then maneuvering over towards Central Park West with top security escorts in toe. Marked “Macy’s Parade.” Themed caravans of marvels. Magical at midnight. – Jodi Kaplan

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