It was amazing and I already want to go back and do it again.
Here is how my mom and I did the whole thing:
Wednesday- we drove to New Brunswick, NJ and stayed over in a hotel a few blocks away from the train station.
Thursday- The day started at 5:30 with us dressing in many layers and walking to the train station. We caught the train and took it to Penn Station where we then got on the subway to 72nd street. This part was confusing and we wasted some time trying to figure it out. My mom finally asked someone who worked for the subway which platform we should be on and made our way over to it. The New York subway system may be good but it is not easy to follow. When we made it off of the subway and out onto the street we were right on the parade route but it was packed, of course. So we went one street up and found great viewing spots. I stood on a wide railing and was able to see everything. Once we had picked out spots, I went on a coffee run. The Starbucks was packed but what I thought was the coffee line was actually the bathroom line. Turned out, there was no coffee line! I stepped right up and was out of there in moments.
Tips for anyone going-
Get there early! We got to our spot around 7:30 and there was already a crowd.
You may just want to get in the crowd to begin with. We stood a little ways back so I could stand on the railing but we noticed that after about 9:30-9:45 (the parade started at 9) the crowd started thinning out. It was very windy standing up so high and I couldn’t feel my toes so my mom and I changed sides to stand in the sun and the crowd and warmed up quickly. As people left, we were able to step forward little by little until we were only about 5 people back from the parade route. Had we gone in the crowd when we first got there we probably would have made it up to the front. One great thing was that because of the wind, they had to hold the balloons very close to the ground so we got a good look at them.
Don’t drink or eat too much. I had a Kind bar and a cup of coffee and a couple sips of water and made it through just fine. Not only do you not want to miss any part of the parade but think of all the people using that Starbucks bathroom, do you really want to use it right then?
Pick somewhere to eat right after. We stumbled on a pizza place right after the parade ended and lucked out by getting the last table. Remember that the further away from the route you go the fewer people there will be.
Be kind. Remember that it is Thanksgiving and we are all there to watch a parade. I saw a couple of people being quite rude about “their spots”.
Now, for the pictures!
When we were walking back to Penn Station after lunch, we saw all the floats down streets being packed away for next year.