Thanksgiving Day Parade
This is a first
time ever look behind the scenes of the Macy's
Thanksgiving Day Parade from an LP operational
perspective. The information being shared for our reader
will give you a look at the complexity of coordinating
large scale national events with law enforcement and the
measures taken by LP to protect the brand.
The 86th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place on
Thursday, November 22nd 2012 at 9:00 am in New York
City. It is estimated that upwards of 3 million viewers
line the parade route from the starting point at 77th
Street down to its final destination at the Macy’s
Flagship Herald Square store at 34th Street. In
addition, the audience on NBC’s nationwide broadcast
allows another 50 million people to make the parade part
of their Thanksgiving tradition.
Macy’s Loss Prevention plan is put together by Larry
Sechuk-VP Law Enforcement Outreach/Special Operations,
Walter Avelin- LP Operations/Law Enforcement Liasion and
Dave Dagney-LP National Events. The planning process
begins in February. There are four distinct operations;
rehearsal, balloon inflation, parade and
dismantling/deflation. They are spread over four days.
As the safety of attendees is of paramount importance
meetings are held with NYPD, FDNY, Port Authority
Police, FBI and DHS to identify potential issues and
develop contingency plans. Starting in September Sechuk
provides monthly updates to Tom Roan-Group Vice
President / LP. A final review of the Loss Prevention
plan is presented to senior management by Roan and
Sechuk two weeks before the parade.
The Loss Prevention Team must also coordinate crowd
control and protection for talent during rehearsals at
Herald Square on the three nights before the actual
parade. One of the busiest crosstown streets, 34th
Street, is closed each night to allow performers and the
camera crews to coordinate timing and ensure that the
marks are hit.
The Balloon Inflation takes place on Wednesday at 77th
and Central Park West. This has become a major event as
well. It draws tens of thousands of onlookers who want
to get a sneak peek at the balloons. At 10:00 pm the
process of clearing the inflation viewing audience from
the perimeter around the Museum of Natural History
begins. Once this is accomplished Central Park West must
be made ready to stage the float convoy. This year 55
floats were part of the parade. The convoy is escorted
by Macy’s LP, and Police through 45 of busiest streets
in Manhattan get to their destination on Central Park
During the overnight hours Macy’s LP must prepare access
routes for guests who have tickets to the grandstands.
They must also maintain a secure perimeter from 67th
Street to 86th Street to keep unauthorized personnel out
of the staging areas. At the same time a separate LP
operation seals off 34th Street outside the Herald
Square store to allow construction of the grandstands.
Thanksgiving morning presents its own set of challenges.
uptown and downtown allow over 17,000
ticketed guests to view the parade from some
of the best viewing locations along the
route. Macy’s LP partners with the Stapleton
Group and their Vapor Wake K-9 dogs to
screen all guests prior to reaching the
volunteers who march in the parade must be
brought to secure locations to be costumed
and then brought to the start line at
Central Park West.
||A separate operation
for the 800 children who ride the floats
must be staffed and managed by the LP team.
||A ‘frozen zone’ from
34th Street to 39th Street and from Broadway
to 8th Avenue must be created and maintained
to facilitate the dismantling of floats and
deflation of the balloons.
||All celebrities who
ride the floats must be escorted at all
times during the parade.
After months of preparation and planning it is
finally time for a parade! Over 150 Macy Loss Prevention
executives team up with the FBI, DHS, FDNY and thousands
of New York’s finest to ensure that the parade goes
according to plan without incident and that Santa
arrives at Herald Square promptly at 12 noon.
In addition to the parade in NYC Sechuk and his team are
also involved with the planning and safeguards at Macy’s
events nationwide during Thanksgiving week. These
include; 2 additional parades, 5 tree lightings and 6
window unveilings. All of this in addition to normal 4th
Quarter activities that the team is involved with!