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Spotlight on Leadership 11-29-12
The D&D Daily e-Newsletter for the LP & Safety Industry


Macy’s 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 West.

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.

Macy’s grandstands 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 stands.
Thousands of 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!

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Spotlight on Leadership 11-29-12
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