NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Millions of people lined the streets of New York City Thursday for the 86th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The parade stepped off at 9 a.m from 77th and Central Park West with more than 3 million people in attendance and another 50 million watching on TV.
There were some new characters to Macy’s lineup of giant balloons this year, including Elf on a Shelf and Papa Smurf and a new version of Hello Kitty.
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Parade classics like Kermit the Frog, Mickey Mouse, Spongebob Squarepants and Spider-Man, along with hundreds of clowns, 28 floats, bands, performers also made their way down the parade route.
This year, the city gave away 5,000 seats to the parade to families hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.
“It was very difficult, but days like these are nice,” said Diane Plataroti, whose family was without power for 10 days after Sandy.
Many say the bright balloons and annual tradition would give a much-needed lift to the city and to storm survivors still rebuilding.
“It means a lot,” said Karen Panetta of Queens as she sat in a special viewing section for storm victims. “We’re thankful to be here and actually be a family and to feel like life’s a little normal today.”
Organizers said the high-flying parade showed that not even Sandy can hold New Yorkers down.
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“It’s a joyous occasion and a time for renewal and to lift everybody’s spirit and that’s what we’re going to do,” said
Amy Kule, executive producer of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
After stepping off from 77th and Central Park West, the parade continued south to Columbus Circle where it turned onto 59th Street. It then headed downtown on Sixth Avenue and stays on the Avenue of the Americas all the way to 34th Street and Macy’s.
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