Snoopy’s come home!
The iconic float and many others returned to the Big Apple skies Thursday for the 95th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — after COVID-19 forced the celebration to go virtual last year.
The famed celebration kicked off at 9 a.m. from Central Park West and 77th Street to cheers of eager spectators as it embarked on its traditional two-and-a-half mile trek south through Midtown, signaling the official start to the holiday season.
“We feel like it’s 2019, the good old days before the city became the epicenter of a global pandemic. Last year, I was sick in bed with COVID watching the scaled down parade on TV. I would never imagine I’d be out here again with my three children and sister who flew into the city yesterday from Los Angeles,” Upper West Side resident Lauren Weinstein Kessler, 42, told The Post from her viewpoint at 76th Street and Central Park West.
“New York hasn’t lost its magic! Goodbye COVID, and hello baby Yoda!”
Last year, the route was trimmed to a single block due to pandemic precautions, which also barred spectators from turning up to watch. While kids under 12 weren’t allowed to march in the parade this year, the spectacle was allowed to go on with few pandemic restrictions aside from a recommendation that paradegoers mask up and a requirement that all marchers be vaccinated.
Skies were partly sunny with temperatures lingering in the high 40s and winds between zero and five mph after strong gusts in 2019’s parade led to a gutted Ronald McDonald balloon that had to be dragged from the street when a 3-inch gash in his leg prevented it from flying.
The holiday festival brought swarms of tourists and locals who lined up early Thursday to ensure they had a good spot to watch the performers, dancers and the 28 floats and 15 oversized balloons make their way through Manhattan. Locals armed with muffins, bagels and hot coffee flocked out to their stoops while small children stood on ladders and on the shoulders of their parents to get a good view.
“We’re back baby,” said Upper East Side resident Lucy Pecker, 22.
“We love watching the dance performances. Last year on Thanksgiving, we watched the parade on TV walking through Central Park and my grandma was on a ventilator in New Jersey, it was weird and miserable. This is something that puts New York back on the map for the world to see.”
Longtime classics like Snoopy, Spongebob and Papa Smurf graced New York’s skies once again but newcomers like Ada Twist, the scientist from the animated children’s Netflix series, and the beloved Baby Yoda from “The Mandalorian,” made their parade debuts.
When Baby Yoda and Smokey the Bear floated through the Upper West Side, young children stood on top of cars to scream in delight.
Adults were equally excited.
“This is amazing!” said Adam Cumberbatch, 22, who was thrilled to see his favorite float, the purple Happy Hippo.
“I miss having these types of events, people come to New York to see the parade. Things are starting to look good in the greatest city in the world”
Idalisse Cabezas, a lifelong New Yorker, said this was the first time she’s seen the parade in person.
“We finally have great weather on Thanksgiving. Last year, I just had a baby girl and we were home having a Thanksgiving Zoom,” Cabezas, 39, told The Post.
“This year, my whole family is together drinking hot chocolate and watching Snoopy!”
The parade was put on this year by Bronx native Will Coss, who said he was looking forward to bringing the spectacle back to the celebration it always was following its pandemic hiatus.
“For more than nine decades, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has served to bring joy to millions, who gather with friends and family to experience this one-of-a-kind holiday celebration along the streets of New York City and in homes nationwide,” the executive producer said in a statement.
“For our 95th celebration, Macy’s has created a spectacle to remember featuring a dazzling array of high-flying balloons, animated floats and incredible performers. We can’t wait to help New York City and the nation kick-off the holiday season with the return of this cherished tradition.”
New floats this year include a glittering alligator on wheels, complete with azaleas, magnolias and Mardi Gras beads that will be an homage to Louisiana and was created by the state’s tourism office.
A flashy turquoise and green peacock float also strutted its way through Midtown for the first time to celebrate NBC’s new streaming service Peacock, as did a Disney Cruise Line boat to mark the return of cruises.
Spectators at home can tune into NBC to watch the parade live from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
In addition to the NBC broadcast, for the first time, viewers can also watch the fun via livestream on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock, beginning at 9 a.m. across time zones as well as on Fubo.