Fly On, Snoopy (And Friends): Macy's Parade Balloons Get All-Clear | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Fly On, Snoopy (And Friends): Macy's Parade Balloons Get All-Clear

Updated at 9:06 a.m. ET on Nov. 28.

The show will go on, giant balloons and all: Snoopy, Spiderman, Buzz Lightyear, Pikachu and 12 other massive balloons will fly in the iconic Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York police say.

Forecasts had called for winds close to the maximum that New York City will allow for the balloons — some as tall as a five-story building — to fly over the parade route.

The parade began at 9 a.m. at 77th Street and Central Park West. Some 3 million spectators are braving the wintry weather to watch the event, which is being televised on NBC.

Our original post continues:

Based on past experience (which includes a near fatal 1997 Cat in the Hat incident), the city set limits – 23 mph sustained winds, or gusts of 34 mph – above which the balloons can't fly. "New York City could see sustained winds between 15 and 25 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph," said weather.com meteorologist Alan Raymond.

Only once in the annual parade's nearly nine decades, in 1971, have winds and bad weather grounded the balloons.

But that doesn't mean there haven't been other close calls, the kind that come with helium-filled behemoths each requiring dozens of rope-holding handlers to wrestle them along the 2.65-mile-long Manhattan parade route.

As The New York Times recounts: "Felix the Cat once caught fire. Bullwinkle sprung a leak, spewing a blast of helium from his nose yards from the finish line. And giant M&Ms, Sonic the Hedgehog and SpongeBob SquarePants have all crashed into objects on the street."

The most serious incident was in 1997, when the Cat in the Hat balloon struck a light pole in winds gusting above 40 mph. As The Times wrote back then:

"Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said yesterday that he had directed top aides and police officials to investigate whether tighter regulations should be applied to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, after an accident in which a six-story-high Cat in the Hat balloon knocked down part of a lamppost, injuring four spectators."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, March 30, 2015

You can see a few slapdash plays this weekend or check out some rarely seen portraits by a mid-20th century artist.

NPR

Cheez Whiz Helped Spread Processed Foods. Will It Be Squeezed Out?

Turns out, the history of Kraft's dull-orange cheese spread says a lot about the processed food industry — and where it might be headed as Kraft and Heinz merge.
WAMU 88.5

Will McAuliffe Make Good On Campaign Promises In Virginia?

Virginia lawmakers will be back in session next month, and the governor will try once again to deliver on the campaign promises that were central to his campaign.

NPR

App That Aims To Make Books 'Squeaky Clean' Draws Ire From Edited Writers

Clean Reader — an app designed to find, block and replace profanity in books — has drawn considerable criticism from authors. This week, makers of the app announced they would no longer sell e-books.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.