Security beefed up for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, balloon inflation

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Security at the upcoming Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is nothing short of extensive, and pay close attention to new changes for the balloon inflation event on Wednesday.

"NYPD is ready for this week," Police Commissioner James O'Neill said.

With more than a million spectators expected to attend the parade and at least 100,000 more expected to attend the popular balloon inflation on Wednesday, the NYPD is putting extraordinary security measures in full effect, especially coming so soon after the Halloween terrorist attack.

"We are proud of the fact that we are the safest big city in America," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "We are the terrorists worst nightmare."

Some of the biggest changes will come on Wednesday, during the balloon inflation along Central Park West. Large backpacks, coolers, alcoholic beverages, chairs and umbrellas are strictly prohibited. From 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., viewers will enter security checkpoints at West 74th Street and Columbus Avenue.

They will then make their way up to Central Park West and West 77th Street to the first balloon staging area, then around the American Museum of Natural History to the second staging area on West 81st Street before exiting onto Central Park West.

"By 7 a.m., everything will be shut down along the route of the parade," NYPD Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan said. "There will be no cross-town traffic from 86th Street down to 34th Street."

During the parade, large sand-filled dump trucks will be placed at all intersections that cross the parade route.

"We will have observation teams located at various locations along the route," Monahan said. "You will see our vapor wake dogs and other canine dogs on both the balloons and during the route."

Parade organizers have worked closely with the NYPD and other city agencies and assure spectators that the event will be safe.

"Know that the layers of security and protection provide again this year have been in the planning stages since the end of last year's parade," Commissioner O'Neill said. "We are looking forward to another great holiday this year, and we know all New Yorkers are as well."
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