My Grandfather had a duck farm out on Eastern Long Island that required constant attention. It certainly wasn’t a 9 to 5 job. It was difficult for him to get away on trips but around Thanksgiving he was able to take some time in the 1940s.
My father remembers my Grandfather Olin driving my Grandmother Agnes, my Aunt Gloria and him in to New York City early in the week of Thanksgiving. My Grandfather would spend the night and then have to drive the 60 some miles back home to check on the farm and then return to the City by Thanksgiving. They always stayed at the Hotel Pennsylvania (renamed the Statler in 1949 and in 1991 it was once again renamed the Hotel Pennsylvania) on Seventh Avenue across from Penn Station. My Dad remembers that some years they had a window in their room that they could see the parade from and watched it right there from their room. Other times he said they would go to the end of the hallway and watch from the windows there. The family ate Thanksgiving dinner in the dining room of the Hotel. He remembers being a young boy of 10-12 and always wanting to pay the bill for dinner. My Grandfather would hand him the bill and give him the cash so he could go pay for dinner. How important and grown up he felt. They left their car in the parking garage under the Hotel and walked around New York City or used a taxi. During the day they went walking around looking at the many Christmas decorations and doing some shopping. He remembered my Grandmother going to the Concierge desk at the Hotel to get tickets to shows such as Oklahoma, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, etc. and how much he enjoyed the shows. He also remembered going to dinner one night and having a table right next to the stage. He said he was so excited to hear the famous trumpet player W.C. Handy-St Louis Blues. He said he was so close he could almost reach out and touch Mr. Handy. After a busy and fun week Sunday came and it was time to head back home. What a great tradition and memory to preserve!
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, as we know it, was originally called the Christmas Parade. The parade began in 1924 and has run every year with the exception of 1942-1944 during WW II.
In 1945 the big balloons were reported to be Bobo the Hobo (Clown), Acrobat, Teddy Bear, Pumpkin, Ice Cream Cone“Mr and Mrs Olin Warner and children spent the holiday and weekend in New York City.”
Daily News photo from November 23, 1945
Enjoy the journey,