The stars of the Thanksgiving Day Parade took shape on the Upper West Side Wednesday evening, as Macy's inflated the balloons that will appear in Thursday's parade. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Giant characters contained in nets await the moment they'll fly over the streets of Manhattan.
Dozens of Macy's workers pumped helium into the 16 big balloons Wednesday evening.
Thousands of locals and tourists watched the inflation and then got a strolling sneak peek up close.
"I know some of the things from on TV, and most of them are bigger than our house," said one person.
Most kids have a favorite.
"I like the SpongeBob one," said one.
"I like the Kool-Aid," said another.
"My name is Kate, and I like the hippo because it's purple," said a third.
They and their families braved the wet, cold weather to watch the spectacle.
"This is our fifth year coming," said one person. "It's our little tradition, and we love it. We're freezing, it's wet."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg predicts that the wind won't stop Toothless the Dragon or any of his friends from taking off, but says that the city uses seven weather monitors for safety along the route.
"We have a police sergeant with each of the big balloons, and based on what the winds are at any one point in time, we can have them higher or lower or, if it got really bad, we pull them off to the side, which we don't think is going to happen," Bloomberg said.
At least, he hopes not. It's his last Thanksgiving Day Parade as mayor.
The enthusiasm of this or any adult aside, this spectacle feeds the imagination of each child.
"I like saying hi to the new balloons each year," said one child.
The parade route starts at 77th Street, goes down Central Park West, and then shifts over to Sixth Avenue, heading down to 34th Street. It ends in front of Macy's.
Whether the balloons fly or not, there will be floats, marching bands and 900 clowns to entertain all of the 3.5 million spectators that are expected to line the parade route.