| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Nov 22 Millions of people lined the
streets of New York on Thursday to watch the 86th Macy's
Thanksgiving Day Parade, the largest event held in the city
since Superstorm Sandy caused widespread damage throughout the
Giant helium balloons hovering over the parade lifted
spirits in the wake of the deadly storm that flooded homes and
businesses in New York and New Jersey last month.
Crowds along the parade route cheered a host of giant
character balloons, including a 60-foot-tall Kermit the Frog
balloon and an enormous Charlie Brown. The parade, which
typically draws 3.5 million spectators and 50 million television
viewers, also featured 28 floats, 11 marchine bands, thousands
of cheerleaders and dancers and Santa Claus. Celebrity
performers included Whoopi Goldberg, Carly Rae Jepsen and the
The parade was the largest public event held in the city
since the storm, which killed 132 people in the United States
"As it has during turbulent times in our history, we hope
the Macy's Parade serves as a beacon of hope for all who tune in
and gather with friends and family to give thanks this season,
as they continue to heal from the devastating aftermath of
Superstorm Sandy," Amy Kule, the parade's executive producer,
said in a statement.
Macy's said it would provide seats for some 5,000 people
affected by Sandy, which inundated lower Manhattan with
seawater, damaged shorelines and destroyed homes in New Jersey
and New York.
Thousands of area residents are coping with the loss of
homes, businesses and loved ones on Thanksgiving. Some are
marking the occasion in homeless shelters.
Watching the balloons being inflated on Wednesday night was
Chris Tamis, his wife and two teenagers, whose home on hard-hit
Long Island only recently had its power restored.
"Coming here is a good distraction," said Tamis, who lives
in Smithtown, New York. "A lot of people are coming to get away
On Wednesday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced
that the city, in partnership with local community organizations
and businesses, was providing 26,500 Thanksgiving meals for
people hardest hit by the storm.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Stacey Joyce)