More than 3 million people were expected to have lined up the streets to view the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, now in its 89th year.
Amid tight security deployment, New York officials had reassured people that they were safe during the holidays. On Wednesday, President Barack Obama said there was no credible threat to the country, and that Americans were safe to travel during the festivities.
According to Daily Mail, spectators gathered to line up along the 2.5-mile route for the parade, starting at Central Park West and 77th Street on the Upper West Side and headed south to Macy’s flagship store at 34th Street and 7th Avenue, in Herald Square. People collected on Manhattan sidewalks and rooftops saw performances from Mariah Carey, Trey Songz, Jordin Sparks and Panic! As many as 50 million people worldwide were expected to watch the parade on their televisions.
Security patrolling the parade route was strengthened to include 2,500 officers, the most number of officers to have been deployed at the event in the city’s history. A 41-year-old man from Russia was arrested for flying a drone in Central Park near the parade route. The man was issued summons and he and his son (14), who was with him, were questioned. No other incident was reported.
Debbie Irey was one of the spectators of the parade. “You can’t live in fear,” she said, Reuters reports. “The police officers with guns in Times Square heightens your awareness.”
New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio, said, “This begins a season of appreciation, a season to focus on family and all our loved ones. And yet, at the same time, there are some in this world who are trying to stir fear. They’re trying to make us afraid. They’re trying to make us change our lifestyle and change our values, lose our spirit, lose our values. We refuse to do that.”
He further added, “I think people are coming here from all over the city, all over the metropolitan region, all over the country to be a part of this parade.
“People should recognize the efforts being made. I have absolute faith in the NYPD.”