Yesterday I took advantage of early holiday leave time and did something after work I have been wanting to do for years. I went to see the inflation of the Thanksgiving Parade balloons on 81st Street and Central Park West.
As a native New Yorker, I have never been to the actually parade and have never wanted to but from the first time I saw a photo someone took years ago (maybe my dad’s?) of the balloons on the ground being inflated at night, I had it filed it away in my head as something I always wanted to check out. It’s the surreal feeling of being so close to things so large and colorful that injected me with a shot of pure childlike awe. And it was everything I expected and more.
I was amazed at how easy it was to get to. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I got the directions from a friend/co-worker before I left and I just followed them. There were already droves of families in the train car on their way so I figured I’d just follow them.
You see the first balloon before you even emerge at the top of the subway staircase! They’re all lined up across from the Museum of Natural History. I was just….a kid. My mouth fell open several times as I uttered the word wow to myself over and over. How had I waited so long to do this? The weather was perfect, the light was perfect and warm classical holiday music was being piped through speakers for the masses. I ate it all up. I needed it. I took a bunch of photos before my phone battery died just as I got to the last balloon in the line. But it was okay. I was just so happy to do something I had wanted to do for so long and that it was so incredibly energizing and fun and that anyone in New York can do! It was just what I needed to temporarily offset the sadness and shock of violence and terror that has been rocking our world lately.
I just needed to feel a moment of pure wonder and joy, instead of fear, anger and frustration.
Despite everything, I really do love New York.