Last week was my favorite American holiday, Thanksgiving. We don't have it in Australia but I wish we'd adopt something like it. I see it as a way more relaxed christmas without any of the stress of gift buying. Just a day to chill and be with family and friends. Well for some. I was up at four a.m. to cover the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But I'm not complaining. I love shooting it. A number of my colleagues are also working and we all get to spend the morning together while chasing giant balloons down New York's streets. It's a lot of fun.
Unfortunately, ISIS had been making fresh threats about attacks on New York City in the lead up to the day, so security was pretty intense. I was curious to see if it affected the attendance at all. As far as I could tell, the number of people there only grew due to the enormous presence of cops lining the route. Add that to the reported three-point-something million regular folk who came to check it out and it must have been some kind of record. Cops armed to the teeth watching giant inflatable cartoons float by made for an interesting paradox, one I know a lot of photographers (including myself) were focusing on.
It's really nice being in the middle of it all. Walking in the shadows of the balloons gives a unique perspective and the kids lose their mind for their favorite characters. Then the finale. Santa Claus closes the parade riding down the route on a giant elevated sleigh and heralds the official count-down to Christmas. Walking beside him you hear the crowd's roar roll like a wave along side his float. It feels as though sixth avenue is shaking beneath your feet and it's impossible not to get caught up in it.
When all was said and done, the parade went without a hitch and it was an abnormally gorgeous day. The cops were thankfully no more than epic props and no balloons sprung a leak like in that iconic episode of Seinfeld.