i just got back from NYC about an hour ago. Get to the balloon site before 10pm. Also, a little tip. If you go to Macy's and head to the 8th or 9th floor, tell customer service that you are a visitor and you will get a shopping pass for a certain percentage off. A little advice as well, there are great delis that are hidden all over the city. We stayed at Times Square and found a deli (Starlite) that served breakast (didn't have a place to sit down) for about $3.00 a person. I was there for 5 days and didn't even spend $400. It can be done if you look.
I was in the Macy's Parade all four years of high school for Cheerleading (I qualified for the London New Years parade, but couldn't get together the money-NYC was cheaper), and I was a staff member during college. I've never watched the parade from the sidewalk though. Just dress warmly. We were always cold, even though we were walking and cheering!
We spent Wednesday night in Milford, Ct. Got up at 3 am, made quick microwave breakfasts in the room (had to bring our own microwave!) and were at the train station for the 4:22 train. Arrived in the city at 5:48 and ran over towards Times Square. Ended up walking and finally found a "front row" seat (on the sidewalk... not on a chair) at the corner of Broadway and 57th. At 6 am, it was hard to find! It was a beautiful day... 55 degrees with no wind. It was great! The kids were thrilled (and so were we!). After the parade, we walked up the Central Park, over to FAO Schwarz (it was open) and the new Apple computer store, then wandered back checking out the windows and took a 2:00 train back to Milford. We stopped at Cracker Barrel for a quick Thanksgiving dinner and finally made it home at 9:30 last night. It was a great, quick trip! I brought a bag with some snacks (wouldn't let the kids drink hardly anything... no bathrooms available). If I was to do it again, I would have brought books/toys for the kids to do while we waited... 3 hours of sitting there was long (you don't want to know how many games of I Spy with my little eye we played). Thank you all for your advice!
I'm 40 years old. Born in NYC and lived in NY for most of my life and have never been to the parade.
Long story short my SIL got us tickets for the CITI bank building (office). Short story - couldn't cross the street.
DH, myself and our twins slept at inlaws in Manhattan. We trudged through the jammed streets (we actually lost my nephew for a split second - we were freaking out) and the cops wouldn't let us cross the street to get to the buildings.
All in all - it was okay. We might not have done what we wanted but bottom line, we had a great view, the kids loved it, we loved it - everyone had a great time.