No snow, no rain, no breeze, or great frustration is the reason why Messi’s Thanksgiving Day parade is canceled in its 96-year history. On Thursday he seems to be gearing up for power through the epidemic.
Other parades in New York City have dropped one after another, as city and state officials have decided it would be unsafe to proceed with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Pride March and the Puerto Rican Day Parade as they draw such huge crowds. The West Indian American Day Parade on Labor Day was forced to go virtual for the same reason.
But the Thanksgiving Day parade is moving forward, largely because millions of people in particular have been told to stay home and the occasion has been put on a television show, even though many see themselves as a religious marker of the holiday. .
So the parade route will be not two miles but one block long. Those high school bands across the country won’t be marching, and instead of about 2,000 balloon handlers to coordinate, there will only be about 130.
But anyone who thinks organizing this year’s parade was not the only feat of logistical leisuredemines but a design, is sinking deeply into the holiday punch.
Beginning in March, Messi and NBC’s parade organizers, who showcase the event, tore up a carefully calibrated script and had to come up with a whole new blueprint that evolved into new questions day by day.
If a person uses squat utility vehicles instead, what is the physics of flying balloons that are usually controlled by people?
How and when to do coronavirus tests and temperature checks for 960 people working on the parade?
How to arrange socially distant stage numbers that capture the magic of Broadway without endangering anyone’s health?
How can he break balloon handlers and march bands, some of whom see the parade somewhere between a lifelong dream and a religious occasion that they won’t be joining this year?
“What I knew about Thanksgiving Day a month ago is different now,” said Susan Terrace, executive producer at Messi’s show. “What plans can you make in June that is going to happen in November when you have no idea what the country will be like at that time?”
History has set a twelve-year period for the cancellation of the parade, which has been held annually since 1924, except for three years during World War II.
“Maybe we were crazy to think this way, but I don’t think we ever tried to get there,” said Dwivedi, executive vice president of special programs for NBC Entertainment.
Instead, organizers continued to communicate with city and state officials and responded as evidence of a second wave in New York, reducing the number of participants a second time from 25 percent of their typical workforce to 12 percent. Instead of the nearly 8,000 people working on the packed parade route in a normal year, the efforts of 960 people are spreading across the three-day shooting.
Huge balloons went from 16 to 12, floats from 26 to 18.
At one point, the parade organizers envisioned a short-distance route that would still allow for some travel on Manhattan streets. But he was also very determined to invite the crowd, and officers eventually landed on a stub at 34th Street Parade Road between American Avenue and Seventh Avenue. The result, effectively, is a broadcast set around Macy’s flagship department store, where most of the parade is prelude.
Messi is adamant that spectators will get nothing to see on Thursday and police officers have been assigned to disperse any crowds that may develop. However, police officials have downplayed the details that typically work percent percent of the parade, according to Director Chief Terrence A. Mohanah said.
“It’s a lot less work for us, that’s for sure,” he said. “But I would be challenged to save thousands of people who enjoy the parade rather than save the show that people watch on TV.”
High school and college led marching bands were also disappointed to be selected for the lineup. In general, Wesley Watley, the parade’s creative creator, flies across the country to be surprised by the news that band members have been spotted on the parade route.
This year, his tour ended just before the start.
The organizers of the parade considered the idea of sending a film crew to capture the marching bands on their home ground, but the idea was abandoned because it would involve cross-country travel to many countries, and in many cases, youth band members from many months away. , Unable to learn remotely, and study face to face.
Eventually, Mr. Watley called the director of the bands set to perform this year with news that he may not be coming in November, but they are saving him a spot in the 2021 parade. The band set for 2021 will move to 2022.
Staying at home will be most balloon handlers. Typically, each giant balloon – from the 49-foot Ast astronaut Snoopy to the 53-foot Picachu – is guided by 80 to 100 uniformed handlers. That number was volatile during the epidemic.
So the parade team plans to offset the weight of the balloon handlers with the design of five utility vehicles (in a typical year, each giant balloon will anchor one of these vehicles in the center). The parade’s engineering team used the weight of the vehicle plus two “standard” 175 pounds to calculate the proper design of the handlers under the balloons, said Kathleen Wright, the parade’s production director.
In each of the larger balloons they will be assigned about 25 humans, or ride or walk in utility vehicles on the Blocklang Parade route.
One of the handlers who made the cut was Matthew’s employee Kathy Kramer, who has been on the balloon team for 36 years. He is a balloon pilot, who walks about 30 yards in front of the balloon and directs the handlers using the hand signal and whistle.
But this year, Ms. Kramer would come wearing a mask and he discovered during practice that the whistle was too difficult to operate, so Messi was moved to a hand-held electric whistle.
Balloons are released overnight on the broadcast set before flying down Th 34th Street. Thanksgiving will bring some travel to life on NXGiving Day. Others may have made flights as early as possible.
“Even though it’s a short parade this year, my stomach will start churning on Monday and it will continue until we do deflation.” Ms. Said Kramer.
Messi has organized it in the second bow of the special year so that some of the groups whose parade was canceled will now have a place in the Thanksgiving event. So parade observers on television can expect to see the New York Fire Department’s Emerald Society band in their bagpipes and bearskin hats and the lesbian and gay Big Apple Paul Corps marching band, in their rainbow sash, all hidden.
Dancers, stunt walkers and steel pan players who would have lit the Eastern Parkway for the carnival are being tapped on Wednesday. But they will start their makeup on Tuesday night as the process can take hours, said Annie-Rhea Smith, vice-president of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association. She said she hopes the makeup session matches the typical carnival gala preparations and emotions in Brooklyn.
“Nothing can change this feeling, but we are trying to get as close as possible,” he said.
To replace last month’s absence from the parade, the event will be something that will happen in New York, once the epicenter of the epidemic in the United States and a cultural beacon that has become increasingly gloomy in recent months. So while visitors to the Lincoln Center will not be able to see “George Ballachines the Nutracker” this year, parade spectators will be able to see Ashley Bowder, the New York City ballet’s main dancer, as a pink tutu-ed sugarplum ferry. Similarly, the numbers of four Broadway shows shuttered since March, were tapped in Times Square the week before Thanksgiving and will be part of the parade.
And despite the “Christmas Spectacular” cancellation at the Radio City Music Hall, 18 of the 80 rockets will appear in their wooden soldier costumes with custom masks. (That particular rocket number was chosen because the dancers have limited contact with each other, which means no kicklines.)
Turning over the busy planning process has meant that New Yorkers and Americans need this inspiring display of joy at a time when there is so much suffering.
That mission was made clear in 1963, six days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, six years after the nationwide mourning, when Messi decided to cancel the parade.
The parade resumed in 2001 as New York struggled to recover from the 9/11 attacks. The regret of the moment was noted in some patriotic touches: for example, a Lady Liberty Float replaced Tom Turkey, and wore red, white, and blue ribbons with red and white candy in Santa’s sleigh.
On Thursday, as this year’s parade ends, organizers say they will start thinking about next year’s parade almost immediately. Will it be another epidemic, socially distant, masked, fun-but-scaled down type, or something that people can take their children with?
“Hopefully,” said Mr. Vaughan of NBC, “looking forward to next year’s program.” “