By: Justin Weissberg
This Thursday was the 89th running of the Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. A crowd of approximately 3 million people lined the streets to enjoy the festivities. Nevertheless, security was heightened as police and counterterrorism officials remembered the horrific events in Paris.
The New York Times described a very heavy police presence, which included 2,500 police officers, helicopters, and specially trained dogs. Much of the surveillance was inconspicuous as there were law enforcement officers in plain clothes who carried radiation detection equipment. As the New York Police Department’s Chief of Department, told The New York Times, “[There are] things the public will see and, of course, things the public will not see.”
Underneath all of these safety measures the parade appeared fanciful to the casual observer. Balloons, marching bands, clowns, dancers and a group of synchronized jump ropers stormed the usually traffic congested streets. Mayor Bill de Blasio echoed this feeling of calm and enjoyment, “They [New Yorkers] are feeling safe and secure, and they want to participate in this incredible event.”
However a brief scare did occur at 11 a.m. when a drone was spotted above the parade. Police quickly located the drone’s operator and questioned him. The man said that he was unaware of New York City’s restriction on drones. He was issued a court summons, but was allowed to keep his drone. This was the only known security event that occurred during the parade. Officials recommended that spectators return to normalcy and continue with their holiday plans.
Police did an excellent job ensuring the safety of the millions of bystanders during the parade. Nevertheless, in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, officials must remain vigilant as they are reminded of the importance of national security.