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/.

NPR

WWI Diaries Of Poet Siegfried Sassoon Go Public For First Time

Nearly a dozen notebooks and journals by the author, who fought in the British Army during the war, are being released to coincide with the centenary of the start of the conflict.
NPR

Cheap Eats: Cookbook Shows How To Eat Well On A Food Stamp Budget

A Canadian scholar was unimpressed with the cookbooks available for people on food stamps in the U.S. So she decided to come up with her own set of tips and recipes for eating well on $4 a day.
NPR

Panel Says Plan To Cut Army Strength Goes Too Far

The Pentagon has recommended cutting troop strength to 450,000, but a bipartisan report says that given the global threats, the reduction is too big.
NPR

Simmering Online Debate Shows Emoji Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

A report from a local Philadelphia TV station is re-igniting a debate and getting people all up in arms. (Or should we say, up in hands?)

Leave a Comment

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