|For the first time, Lindt Chocolate’s float will be featured in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.|
Not sure about other dedicated parade watchers out there, but for years I’ve assumed that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade floats and balloons came from somewhere inside Macy’s Department Store on 34th Street. Or at the very least, I thought that the mythical blow-up creatures have been assembled, dismantled, and stored in a space convenient to the flagship. Not so.
Just last week, I visited the actual studio where these larger-than-life parade members are designed and crafted. And, the location is nowhere near midtown Manhattan, but in Moonachie, New Jersey, instead. A visit to the Macy’s Studio to nab a glimpse of the five new floats in this year’s parade was pretty exciting stuff.
What’s more, how thrilling for Lindt Chocolate –– the Master Swiss chocolatier –– one of the few to join the amazing float lineup and take part in this New York tradition. Lindt and the Macy’s team have created an enormous lifelike float complete with its own master chocolatier/puppeteer and marionettes. As a parade attendee twice before, I’ve seen these floats up close, or at least from about 20 feet away, but I’ve never stood right next to one until last Tuesday. I felt teeny tiny –– and rightly so. In addition to Lindt, other new 2013 floats include Despicable Me, Cirque Du Soleil, Sea World, and Royal Caribbean.
|Here I am with the Lindt Chocolate float –– that’s one big chocolatier.|
This Thanksgiving, a giant chocolatier will make magic with chocolate for millions of fans while the musical Goo Goo Dolls entertain the crowds from atop the float. Human marionettes –– played by NYC actors –– will bring the float and the chocolate to life.
But more importantly, how do the floats get from New Jersey to the parade? Here’s how happens. In the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, 30 full-size floats will begin their procession through the Lincoln Tunnel and into Manhattan. All floats must measure no more than 12 ft. tall and 8 ft. wide to fit through the tunnel, so they are disassembled and brought into the city in pieces. The entourage then makes the journey uptown to the Upper West Side, where each float is assembled just before the parade starts at 9 a.m.
|This enormous float will travel through the Lincoln Tunnel to line up for the parade.|
After each float reaches its final destination or the end of the parade route at 34th Street, the Macy’s team will disassemble each immediately, make the return trip through the tunnel and back to Moonachie where they’ll store the floats and other paraphernalia until the next parade rolls around.
Whew! This is no simple feat. I can vouch for the difficulty in getting through the Lincoln Tunnel by car, and attempting to secure a parking place with a regular-size vehicle. I can’t imagine maneuvering a float of this scale. But somehow, the folks at Macy’s pull off the festivities without a hitch every year.
And so, when I’m gearing up to revel in merriment before turkey eating begins this Thursday, I’ll think about the time, talent, and precision that goes into fabricating these masterpieces. I’ll also think about how the Macy’s team transports all 30 floats through the Lincoln Tunnel while I’m catching my beauty sleep. As its team works all night long, I, along with the rest of the world, will awaken on Thanksgiving morning to an enchanting three-hour cavalcade. That is what’s known as the magic of Macy’s.
|The Macy’s Workshop in Moonachie|
|The Lindt float in progress|
|Working out the details|
|The finished Lindt Chocolate float|
|The magic of Macy’s!|