Rounding the corner of the 79th street entry point we were greeted by a bazaar series of pens and switch-backs. We were herded to mid-block and finally entered the pens where we looped back to Columbus and back to mid block a series of times. Everyone seemed puzzled. After a while we were allowed back to Columbus Avenue where after being held up briefly, we were finally allowed to cross the avenue and directed to turn south towards 77th Street. Katy Perry's "Roar" blasted from speakers.
The Aflac Duck, fully inflated, was first in line. He was wearing ice skates.
Happy Hippo. The mood of the crowd started to improve and despite mega-phone sporting attendants reminding us to keep moving, the giant balloons were a happy site.
Wiggle Worm. The weather was great, with an autumn chill. We were curious how most of the balloons were already inflated when, again, the "event" had started a little under an hour ago.
Workers with Arrtle The Pirate. Sponge Bob Squarepants is up ahead. It was great seeing the teams inflating the massive balloons. The opposite side of the street was apparently reserved for press and ticket-holders (?).
Arrtle The Pirate in front of Skylanders' Eruptor. We had to admit we were unfamiliar with a few of the characters. We loved the pirates old-school feel. Helium gas tanks are seen behind and dozens of sand-bags keep the netting weighted down. Christmas Carols played loudly and almost drowned out the "Keep Movings!" and reminders that "Inflation Eve will end promptly at 10:00 PM." It was about 4:30PM.
Sponge Bob Square Pants. Very popular with a big crowd. News Radio 1010 WINS was interviewing kids and everyone wanted a picture with massive Sponge Bob.
Red Mighty Morphin' Power Ranger. It was great seeing all the workers inflating Red's face. He was the first truly gigantic balloon we encountered and it was amazing to see. We later learned that the Power Ranger was the largest ballon of the parade at 78 feet long, 26 feet wide and 56 feet high. This giant balloon needed 90 handlers to control him during the parade.
Kool-Aid Man between Diary Of A Wimpy Kid's feet. The crowd thickened as workers buzzed about. A deflated balloon is seen laying flat behind Kool-Aid Man.
Diary of A Wimpy Kid. Helium tanks stretch behind him. His "Diary" is clutched underneath him and Kool-Aid man is waving in the background. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid balloon was 60 feet long.
Hello Kitty. Riding in an airplane. Hello Kitty was popular with the young kids all posing for photos.
Adventure Time with Finn & Jake. We never heard of the these guys but loved the soaring balloon. The New York Historical society in the background means we were getting closer to be being back on Central Park West. We noticed select people being given guided tours inside the barricades going under and around the balloons.
Ice Age's Scrat and his Acorn. A "first-time"balloon, Scrat made his parade premier this year. Tough to photograph he was hidden among Macy Star ballonicles. His Acorn is front and center and you can see one of his large eyes peeking out at us.
Thomas The Tank Engine. Thomas the Tank Engine was 51 feet long and 23 feet wide. We crossed in front of the Museum of Natural History and saw many of what seemed to be the biggest balloons up ahead. Network and cable TV satellite trucks lined the sidewalk and a few confused people popped out of the subway station into the thick of the happy mayhem. The crowd was immense and as the sun set it was a great place to be.
Toothless. From How To Train Your Dragon was one of our personal favorites. Besides being huge, he seemed to be trying to escape his netting. Paddington Bear and Red Angry Bird were tough to get photos of on account of a bus stop and the swarming crowds. The spectators all seemed to be having a great time, us included. Our dog Hudson, who has no problem with crushing crowds, loved it all and got many treats from admirers.