By Lucy Komisar
Oct 24, 2022
I choose to lead my parade with the Women in STEM float. It means science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
It was the only float I saw (maybe I missed earlier ones) that dealt with serious issues of the time.
What is not in my parade article is anything commercial, selling cakes and cookies and fast food obesity-producing junk, movies, TV shows, singers and cartoons, resorts and….., you get the idea.
I made an exception for Ziggy Marley (the son of Bob) and his world phenomenon “Baby Shark.” I love reggae and Bob Marley, one of the major political singers of our era. (“Get Up, Stand Up” about human rights, poverty and oppression.)
That falls into the category of serious issues of the time, though it’s not what the parade featured.
There were some clever state floats, here Louisiana riding atop a toothy crocodile.
Here’s a collection of clever walkabouts.
The famous Nutcracker style cop chasing a mouse crook could have been in the Halloween Parade.
So could the bowling ball and shoe.
And the dragon train.
There were lots and lots of marchers. I liked the Sigma Gamma Rho Centennial Steppers of Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana. They moved to a jazzy beat. The step team was founded this year to celebrate the centennial of the sorority.
But more than anything, this year’s parade was a cacophony of flag waving color. I’d never seen so many “color guards.”
They are lines of marchers who perform choreographed dances and routines, commonly flag spinning, which gives them another name, flag corps.
They are syncopated, athletic and quite charming to see. The sounds are brass horns, softer wind instruments and drums. Here are a few I liked.
Every year there seem to be more and more commercial floats. I have a proposal for Macy’s for next year.
New York’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was started in 1924 by immigrant workers at Macy’s Department Store. It’s coming on their one hundred year anniversary!
They had escaped repressive conditions in Russia and elsewhere and had a workers’ sense of solidarity and appreciation.
They wanted to celebrate this American holiday with a European-style festival of the sort their parents had enjoyed.
They created the parade. But their story has been erased from it.
So how about next year running some floats about these immigrants, how they lived their first years in America and what they meant to the country. And a huge event in 2024. Unions and self-described progressives should promote this.
That should take us back to STEM, about building a better society by empowering its people.
Because Thanksgiving should not be only about buying things. (Spoiler’s alert, not even getting into the myth of the Pilgrims and the Native Americans, it really is about buying things!)
If you go: the parade starts at 9am West 77th Street and Central Park West. Goes south down CPW to Columbus Circle. Turns onto Central Park South and heads east to 6th Avenue. Then turns onto 6th Avenue and heads south to 34th Street. Ending at Macy’s Herald Square at 34th Street & 7th Avenue at about 12 noon.
Photos by Lucy Komisar.