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Thanksgiving Events

The holiday season officially kicks off with giant marauding balloons, crowd-pleasing blockbusters and shopping sprees.

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79th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
This year, Broadway takes center stage with Kristen Chenoweth (Wicked), the cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Beach Boys (who inspired Good Vibrations) all set to perform. LeAnn Rimes, still in town after the Country Music Awards, and The Click Five round out the entertainment while four new characters join the pop cultural pantheon of 51 gigantic balloons: Dora the Explorer, Scooby-Doo, a healthy Mr. Potato Head and Jojo of Jojo's Circus. Need more? How about 27 floats, 10 marching bands, 800 clowns, The Radio City Rockettes, and Santa Claus.

The Route:
The parade starts at Central Park West and 77th Street, proceeds down to Columbus Circle, swings onto Broadway, heads to Macy's doorstep at 34th Street, Herald Square, then veers west to finish on Seventh Avenue.
Thursday, November 24, 9 a.m.-noon.
For more information, call 212-494-4495 or visit macysparade.com.

The Best Vantage Points:
Folks start lining up at 6 a.m. which means you'll need to get there early if you hope to claim a prime spot. The bleacher seats are reserved for Macy's employees; parade organizers insist that the best curbside views are along Broadway near Times Square but you might also consider the following:
70th St. to Columbus Circle on the west side
Broadway between 58th St. and 38th St.
34th Street between Broadway and 7th Ave. on the south side

The Balloon Blow Up
For a behind-the-scenes look at the parade, head over to the Upper West Side and watch as bigger-than-life versions of Kermit the Frog, Super Grover, and 49 of their friends come to life. Oh, what a little helium can do!
77th to 81st Sts., between Central Park West and Columbus Ave. Enter at 79th St and Columbus Ave.
Wednesday, November 23, 3 p.m.-10 p.m.

Other Events

Movies
If popcorn and soda are as much a part of your Thanksgiving tradition as turkey and trimmings, you've got a handful of blockbuster openings and a few spaghetti westerns to choose from.
Rent: Broadway comes to the big screen, and if it's a hit, you'll be hearing Jonathan Larson's songs for 525,600 minutes .
Syriana: Screenwriter Stephen Gaghan (Traffic) teams up with George Clooney (Good Night, and Good Luck.) to take on the oil industry. Matt Damon, Amanda Peet, and Chris Cooper co-star.
The Ice Harvest: The first holiday comedy of the season features John Cusack as a sleazy lawyer and Billy Bob Thornton as his associate.
Yours, Mine and Ours In this remake of the cutesy 1968 crowd-pleaser, Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo take over the roles originated by Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball.
Spaghetti for Thanksgiving: Tired of turkey? For the four-day weekend, BAM Rose Cinemas serves up spaghetti with these campy Italian Westerns: Death Rides a Horse, My Name Is Nobody, and Fighting Fists of Shanghai Joe.

Volunteer Work
This is the season for giving back so soup kitchens and outreach programs kick into high gear. The Bowery Mission has planned a full week of Thanksgiving dinners while God's Love We Deliver needs people to bring cheer (and cranberry sauce) to all five boroughs.
Bowery Mission, 227 Bowery nr. Houston St.; 800-871-6347, bowery.org.
God's Love We Deliver, 166 Sixth Ave nr. Spring St.;212-294-8104, godslovewedeliver.org.

Black Friday
For those strong enough to shake off the tryptophan haze and brave enough to venture out on the busiest shopping day of the year, some stores will keep longer hours.
Toys R Us, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
FAO Schwartz, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Barneys, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Bergdorf Goodman, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Bloomingdale's, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Century 21, 7:45 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Henri Bendel, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Lord & Taylor, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Macy's, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saks Fifth Avenue, 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Thanksgiving Nightlife Events
See the Party List.


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