Thousands of people lined the streets Thursday amid heavy security including bomb-sniffing dogs and portable radiation detectors as iconic inflatable balloons, costumed characters and clowns floated, marched through New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Revelers cheered and yelled, “Thank you!” to officers along the parade route, giving special attention to the New York Police Department marching band.
Spectators — sometimes standing 10 deep — held signs and balloons as they watched floats pass by as it made its way down to Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street.
But amid the fun, high-fives and cheers, there was an air of uncertainty about the possibility of an extremist attack after a recent posting in an English-language Islamic State group magazine that called the parade “an excellent target.” Nevertheless, the parade went off without a hitch Thursday.
More than 80 sanitation trucks filled with sand were parked at intersections and other places, acting as barriers against any kind of attack. The NYPD said the sanitation trucks, which they have used before, would play a bigger role at this year’s parade in the wake of the cargo truck attack in Nice, France, that killed more than 80 people.
In addition to more than 3,000 uniformed and plainclothes officers, bomb-sniffing dogs and officers with assault weapons and portable radiation detectors walked among the crowds.
At least one spectator said the intensive security made her feel secure.
“There are so many police officers out here you can’t help but feel safe,” said Sarah Bender, who brought her two young sons to watch the parade. “It’s a day to have fun, watch the balloons and celebrate with your family. You can’t spend your life worrying about what could happen.”