Thursday, November 26, 2009

Spectacles | NYC Hyperreality: Thanksgiving Parade

In less than 30 days apart from each other Central Park West stages two of the most popular annual events: the NYC marathon and the Macys Thanksgiving Parade.

The events are totally different in nature: the NYC marathon is a celebration of human endurance at its barest mean,s while the Parade is a celebration of the "bright" side of consumism, full of gadgets and powered by simple but spectacular technology in the almost 100-foot tall inflatables. What the events have in common is the attraction of huge crowds. In both events crowds are civilized, exhibiting very differently behaviour from several sports events. It is surprising how there has never been a stampede or major accident. People gather in the surrounding blocks from the other NYC boroughs, suburbs or even other cities, "visiting" the inflated balloons the night before or standing, waiting for the parade from dawn.

Although I have been living for twenty years only one block away from the starting of the parade, this is my first year that I am actually a spectator. And, quite paradoxically for somebody who does leave home without a camera, this morning I did not bring one; and totally regreted. The surreal spectacularity of the five+-storey high Shrek, Spiderman, Ronald McDonalds, Snoopy and many other popular characters generated excitement and overcame the grey day and general atmosphere.