MAYOR DE BLASIO, POLICE COMMISSIONER SHEA DELIVER REMARKS AT THE MACY’S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE BALLOON INFLATION

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BY : MANZOOR HUSSAIN .

Mayor Bill de Blasio: This really one of the very best things that happens all year in New York City. And I want to thank everybody at Macy’s. You are amazing partners. Jeff, I’ve got to tell you, you and your team, you do so much for New York City. I want to thank you for that. And this is a labor of love every year. It’s such a beautiful thing. So, listen, these balloons, just for people to come and see them pumped up, the families come out, kids come out, it’s absolutely beautiful. And then, the parade itself is one of the best moments of the whole year. And it is also a moment where the whole nation looks to New York City and sees the greatness of all New Yorkers and this place on display. It’s a very proud moment every year for New York City. And it’s especially proud after what we’ve been through the last couple of years.

It is beautiful to have this parade back full strength. It’s going to be a magical, magical moment. The weather is cooperating. I’m knocking on wood. The weather is cooperating for tomorrow, so it’s looking good all around. And we have amazing balloons. And every year, there’s new, exciting balloons. And so, for everybody – this is going to be something for everyone, literally. And it’s going to be safe. You’re going to hear from the Commissioner in a moment. It’s going to be safe, because the NYPD is going to be out in force. The plans are fantastic. And we’re happy to report, everything is going very, very smoothly. It’s going to be safe because, people have gone out and gotten vaccinated in this city in a way that surpasses almost every place else in the country. It’s something to be proud of. And we welcome people, come out tomorrow, dress warm, be safe, and experience one of the most beautiful things that happens every year in New York City.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is back. It’s something to be proud of. It’s something to be excited about. And I’ve got to tell you, Macy’s, once again, after eight years of working with you guys, you are supreme professionals. You do everything the right way and you love this city. And I’ve got to tell you, that means so much to all of us. So, I want to thank you on behalf of 8.8 million New Yorkers. Jeff, to you and everybody at Macy’s, once again, job well done. Thank you for all you do for us. It’s my great pleasure to introduce the CEO of Macy’s Jeff Gennette.

CEO Jeffrey Gennette, Macy’s: Thank you, sir. Alright. Thank you, Mayor. And thanks for everybody for being here today. So, on behalf of everybody, the 100,000 strong at Macy’s, all of our colleagues both here in New York City and across the country. Welcome to balloon inflation. And this is the 95th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. So, we are hours away from the start of this world spectacle that we do every year. And this is the official kickoff of the holiday season. So, we’re thrilled to bring back this cherished tradition from here on the Upper West Side, going all the way to our flagship at 34th Street. This is in very close partnership with our partners in New York City, as well as the State, and all the agencies. And it gives us the opportunity to bring magic to New York, as well as the country.

So, in this partnership we share values. We share values of community and celebrating the milestones and traditions that we serve. So, as this is the end of your term, Mayor, we’ve worked together closely over the past eight years. And I would say the last two have been quite remarkable, in that using the opportunity on the July 4th, and here on the parade, no matter what was going on, to make it work. And I thank you for your partnership on that. We brought a New York a lot of joy. And especially this year, as we re-entry, and have recovery, and revitalization of this beloved city that we love to be a part of. I’d also like to thank the Commissioner. And Commissioner Shea, I mean, your amazing team that keeps this community safe, we love working with you as part of the Macy’s group. And so, thank you for your leadership on that. I’d love to be able to also talk about the thousands of city colleagues in New York City that help us pull off this parade, as well as the amazing colleagues at Macy’s. It wouldn’t be without – we couldn’t do it without them.

So, let me tell you a little bit about this year’s parade. It’s going to be pretty magical. So, you’re going to see, if you walk this, a lot of our new character balloons. So, we have the Funko Pop, which is – think about Baby Yoda from Mandalorian, so that’s like at the very front. Go take a look at that. We have amazing new floats. So, we have the Disney Cruise Line, as well as Kalahari, with all the Disney characters are going to be on that. Great entertainers are lined up.

So, Carrie Underwood is the headline. We’ve got John Batiste, for those of who know him. He basically just got nine – or, 11 Grammy nominations. He’s going to be with us. We’re going to have Kelly Rowland, Foreigner, just packed with entertainment. We’ll have 16 character balloons. We have 36 novelty balloons. We’ve got our new one called Tiptoe. It’s going be the first walking balloon puppet. It’s 18 feet tall, get ready for that. And that’s going to be visiting the crowd all the way through the route. We have 28 floats, 1,200 cheerleaders and dancers, 10 marching bands, 800 clowns. And as well, for the fifth year in a row, we’re going to have the Macy’s singing Christmas tree, which is packed with amazing Macy’s colleagues from across the country, singing their hearts out for America. And then, of course, it wouldn’t be complete without Santa Claus – the only real Santa Claus – and he’ll be here on 34th Street to usher in the holiday season at the end of the parade.

So, as we all go to sleep tonight, this amazing parade team that represents Macy’s is going to pull all this together and we’re going to be ready for kickoff on a beautiful day at nine o’clock tomorrow morning. So, happy Thanksgiving on the behalf of Macy’s, to everybody here. And, Mayor, I’m turning it back to you.

Mayor: Thank you so much, Jeff. And, Jeff, I want to just tell you, as you said, the 4th of July, especially in 2020, when this city was going through so much, Macy’s did so much to give people hope and spirit. And you guys have just been absolutely fantastic partners. So, a lot of work’s going to happen between now and tomorrow morning. And a lot of work is going to be done by all the City agencies, but I want to highlight and thank the men and women of the NYPD who are keeping us safe. I want to emphasize, there are no – no specific and incredible threats against this parade and against New York City. That’s the very, very good news, very important news. But to hear about all the extraordinary preparations that are being made and the work that’s being done to keep everyone safe, my pleasure to introduce our Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea: Evening, everyone. What a difference a year makes. Here we are, the start of my favorite time of year in New York City. You can feel the energy. To Macy’s – Jeff, can’t thank you enough for what you do, everything you do. Macy’s as an institution near and dear to the hearts of all New Yorkers. And this parade and what it represents, it’s just exciting to be out here. You are going to have thousands and thousands of men and women in blue. I see Phil Rivera, the two-star Chief in charge of Manhattan North over there. Steve Hughes, Juanita Holmes, Martine Materasso, all working throughout the night and through tomorrow to make sure that you can have the greatest possible day tomorrow. All you have to do at this point is two things – dress warm and get out here early tomorrow. Bring the energy. We’re going to have a great day. Thank you.

Mayor: Amen. Amen. Thank you so much, Commissioner. Colleagues in the media, first of all, a very, very happy Thanksgiving to you. And to anyone in the media, we’ll take a few questions if you have them. If any of our media colleagues have a couple of questions. And if not, that’s cool too. Alright, everybody. Yes, go ahead.

Commissioner Shea: I’m going to bring Martine Materasso, the Chief of Counterterrorism, and Tommy Galati over here to go into specifics. You’re going to see it all. There’s going to be things that you see, quite visible. You’re going to see men and women in uniform, walking around on the parade route with the parades. You’ll see them as you do. If you turn around and look up, you see officers on rooftops. There are things that you’re not going to see as well. What New Yorkers should know is, as the Mayor said, there are no credible and specific threats against this parade. That’s the good news, but we never rest on our laurels and we are going to have thousands of offices out there to make sure that you don’t have to think about security. So, dress warm, some hot chocolate, don’t spike it with anything. The floats are amazing. And we’re looking forward to Santa coming down at Macy’s on 34th Street tomorrow. Martine.

Chief of Counterterrorism Martine Materasso, NYPD: Thank you. Thank you, Commissioner. So, as already was stated, the Counterterrorism Bureau will be out here in full force, ensuring that Santa and Mrs. Claus get down 34th Street. We will be deploying a full cadre of our assets, which is part of our multi-layer security overlay. You’re going to see hundreds of cement blocks, sand trucks, blocker vehicles. You’ll see our explosive detection canines. You’ll see our heavy weapons and observation teams. You’ll see our bomb squad response teams, as well as radiological and chemical sensors. And we have over 300 extra cameras deployed along the parade route. So, as already stated, we encourage all to come out and enjoy this year’s 95th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Mayor: Amen. Well said. Thank you very much. Is there anything else real quick from the media? Going once, going – got one there? Sorry. Go ahead.

Mayor: So, the crowd – what we’re asking of everyone is wear a mask. There’s not a vaccination standard for this parade, but it is wear a mask. In terms of crowd size, Commissioner or Jeff, anyone want to offer what you’re thinking?

Commissioner Shea: We can make up a number for you.

Mayor: We can make up a number for you. Look, people have been waiting long time to come back to this parade. I do think you’re going to see a big, strong crowd. But I don’t think we have an initial estimate. We’ll certainly get to one once the things underway. Last call, anybody else? Alright, everybody. Yes?

Mayor: Yeah. Everything you heard from the Chief, I think, more than accounts for those concerns. Every year we take a lot of precautions. The list of – and we’ll get them to you so you can see all the different items the Chief went over – there’s extensive, extensive security, lots of precautions being taken, those blocker vehicles at key locations. This is a very different circumstance here and an amazing effort goes into keeping it safe. I’m very confident in what the NYPD has prepared to keep everyone safe tomorrow.

Everyone, listen, come on out. It’s going to be an amazing moment, part of the rebirth of this city. We are leaving. COVID behind. We’re moving forward. Everyone, have a beautiful Thanksgiving. Thank you very much.

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