Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans reading this! Spent the night before Thanksgiving drawing the balloon blow-up for the Macy's parade here in New York City, an annual tradition for Macys and now, me too. This year I went with my friends and fellow artists Si Yeon, Chris, Evan, and Jodi. We had a great time, despite the crowds, and the crowds were crazy. Each year this becomes more and more of a spectacle that the tourists flock to see. The E train between Penn Station and the museum stop is so packed it isn't even funny. Tons of Long Islanders with their kids, none of whom seem to be sure what stop to get off of. (Is THAT it? No. Is THAT it? No. - all the way up 8th Ave.) By the way, that's Papa Smurf above. (Don't think he's been in the parade before?) I never get over how strange it is to see these giant colorful characters tied down to the street by the Museum of Natural History. Always reminds me of Gulliver's Travels.
Above is a more impressionistic view of the whole street. People walk to it in droves, drawn by the color and (for the kids) the thrill of seeing their favorite character. Each year I learn about new characters that the kids are crazy about - have to keep an ear open for the kids screaming their names so I can feel in-the-know. :)
Poor Mickey Mouse - he was tied down so tightly, with his face to the ground, he felt like a prisoner. But Ronald McDonald (below) was looking out at everyone with one menacing eye, I think he was getting ready to stage a break-out. Hope he takes Mickey with him...
I love the guy at top right in the drawing above - using his i-phone to take a picture of himself. He was very happy with it, kept checking it out and doing another one. Great stuff.
The last balloon I drew was Sonic the Hedgehog, below. Took me a while to figure that one out - seemed like a bunch of blue bananas. Si Yeon pointed out his hand to me and then it got a little clearer...
We all wanted to go to the other street to see the rest of the balloons, so we followed the crowds (which by this point had become epic) around the corner to Columbus Ave. Where we stood...and waited...and stood..and waited. Took us at least a half hour to get to the mid-point of the block, where we saw the cops were ushering everyone across the street - it was an exit. The thought of fighting the crowds across two more streets and over one, plus our growling stomachs, led us to make a pact to see the flip side next year - see you then, Spiderman!
(Posted by Veronica Lawlor)
On the flag: Charlottesville, Virginia, USA sketcher Jessie Chapman sketching at Charlottesville train station with UVA Medical Center in the distance.
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