By Elizabeth Rosner and Laura Italiano, New York Post
November 26, 2020 | 12:42pm | Updated
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was a deflating experience for New Yorkers this year.
Even though the event was supposed to be TV-only due to COVID-19, a small crowd of would-be revelers braved the drizzle and an air-tight ring of NYPD barricades in an attempt to watch the show in person Thursday — but say they wish they’d just stayed at home.
“I would have been better off watching this on TV,” complained one of the few live spectators, Julia Korzah, 34, who lives in the Herald Square area.
“All I can see is the top of the Empire State building,” she griped as she stood behind a metal barricade with her boyfriend at the corner of 34th Street and Eighth Avenue.
Last year, more than 3.5 million eager parade-watchers lined the 2.5-mile route from the Upper West Side to Herald Square.
But to keep people safe amid the pandemic, this year’s parade was a deeply compressed made-for-TV live event — stretching just one block, in front of the iconic department store’s Herald Square headquarters.
To avoid attracting crowds, much of what viewers saw on television Thursday morning was not live at all, but pre-recorded.
Most of the balloons shown throughout the telecast were from parades from previous NBC broadcasts, according to Macy’s parade officials.
Exceptions were the Macy’s “Stars,” the “Love Flies Up to the Sky” balloon by contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kasuyma, and the “Boss Baby” balloon featuring the cute, business-suited movie character.
A fourth balloon made its live debut this year, the caped and crusading “Red Titan” character from popular web series “Ryan’s World.”
Also pre-recorded were appearances by Dolly Parton, who sang “Holly Jolly Christmas,” Darlene Love singing “Marshmallow World,” and Patti LaBelle, who crooned “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
Telecast viewers were also treated to some pre-recorded Broadway performances, including performances by the casts of “Ain’t Too Proud — The Live and Times of the Temptations,” “Mean Girls,” “Hamilton,” and “Jagged Little Pill.”
The number of live participants was reduced by 88 percent, Variety reported.
Only clowns, band members, float staff and balloon wranglers from New York’s tri-state area were invited, in order to cut down on travel — and all who marched wore masks and were required to maintain social distance, officials said.
That didn’t leave much for live spectators to actually lay eyes on.
“We left the apartment so my 4-year-old son could see the floats,” said Ben Messina, 42.
“Last year my family went to the parade, so at least we have one happy memory,” he said at 36th Street and Eighth Avenue.
“I guess New York doesn’t want too many spectators,” sighed another disappointed onlooker, Meghan Macklin, 42, a healthcare worker from Philadelphia.
Chalk it up to 2020, she said.
“There have been no floats in person, everything was prerecorded, what you see on TV is different,” she groused. “Disappointing.”
Meanwhile, many of the millions of folks who watched from the comfort of their living rooms were full of praise, judging from Twitter.
“I already love the grinch musical and want to be in it,” announced one Twitter user.
Of course, there were still critics among the television audience, including the 6-year-old son of spectator Jennifer Churchill.
“This is my 6-year-old’s first Macy’s Day Parade and he is not impressed,” she tweeted.
“Mom, it’s just a bunch of commercials. Whoever is making this a show of all commercials should be locked in a bathroom … for a year.”