I wasn’t looking forward to Thanksgiving. With my mom unable to join us this year, the holiday leaped out of nowhere and threw me for a loop. Two days ago I had a blank slate before me, which I needed to fill in order to provide a fruitful holiday for my children.
Having never witnessed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Blow Up after living in NY for more years than I’d like to admit, I jumped at the chance today when I was invited to a special event at the New York Historical Society which overlooks West 77th Street where it all takes place.
First we attended the preview of Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection at the NY Historical Society. Model trains, train stations and sheds, bridges and tunnels, carousels and Ferris wheels—all populated with toy figurines in colorful nineteenth-century dress, are on view this holiday season, in the first museum exhibition of selections from the renowned Jerni Collection. Among the unique, hand-crafted and hand-painted toys is the only existing first model elevated station. Designed by Märklin, ca. 1895, it is known as the Rolls-Royce of toy train manufacturers and is displayed in the Judith and Howard Berkowitz Sculpture Court, near the 77th Street entrance. It’s stunning and so is this fabulous museum. I was thrilled to explore the Children’s Museum which really brings NYC history to life. I want to return to the museum for a much deeper exploration. After a bit of an explore, we headed outside to see the balloons bring blown up.
After Hurricane Sandy, there was apparently a helium shortage, but that wasn’t apparent today. The blow-up takes place all around the American Museum of Natural History and we got glimpses of Kermit, Hello Kitty, Papa Smurf, Kungfu the Panda, Spider-Man and Charlie Brown. It was amazing to see how many people it actually takes to inflate each balloon. There were upwards of a dozen people standing in each one.
This was a much better idea than trying to battle the crowds at the parade tomorrow, although I won’t lie – there were some heavy crowds tonight. If you want to do this next year, it’s along Central Park West at West 81st Street and at West 77th Street, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Watching these huge balloons get filled is just as exciting as seeing the parade in real life. Tomorrow morning we get to keep our pj’s on and watch the parade from our sofa, which is exactly where we want to be.
The night completely rejuvenated my spirits and in the upcoming days as we are thankful for what we have, I’ll be thinking about how lucky we are to live near the greatest city on earth.
The NY Historical Society is located at 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th St).
Disclosure: We were provided with special media access for the exhibit opening and access to the less populated side of West 77th Street but all opinions are my own.