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Transcript: Mayor Adams Makes Thanksgiving Day Parade Safety-Related Announcement

November 22, 2023

Jeffrey Gennette Chair and CEO, Macy's: All right. How's everybody doing tonight? So, I'm Jeff Gennette, I'm the CEO of Macy's, Inc., and it's going to be here with Mayor Adams and Commissioner Caban. And welcome to the 97th Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation. And we're here to celebrate on behalf of all the players and make this happen.

So, we have 100,000 Macy's colleagues that bring this all together. This is a beloved holiday tradition that kicks off the holiday season in general. The Macy's Studio works from the moment we finish Thanksgiving to today, they spend one year in creating this amazing parade.

So, in a few hours it will be the official kickoff to the holiday season, and that would not be possible without the very close partnership of everybody in New York City. And our partnership is based on shared values, the importance of community for all New Yorkers, and also the guests that come from all over the world and country to visit us during this time.

I want to thank the mayor and the commissioner for just the incredible partnership that we get from Macy's with the City of New York every day, but particularly this time of year. We want to thank the thousands of very dedicated city employees that help bring this together, and we're very grateful to the Macy's colleagues that come together this year as well. We couldn't do the parade without everybody's partnership.

So, let me tell you a little bit about the parade, the 97th annual parade. The big news here is that it's starting 30 minutes early — it's going to be a three and a half celebration this year, so it starts at 8:30. And this year we have 5,000 volunteers that are going to bring it together. We have 16 new character balloons, and you'll see many of them behind you as you walk through.

We have 26 floats, 32 heritage and novelty balloons, 700 clowns — let's hear it for the clowns — we have 12 marching bands, we have nine performance groups. We have seven new character balloons, so this year we have the Beagle Scout Snoopy, which people's… It's gonna be a crowd favorite.

We have the Kung Fu Panda, Po, that's going to be here, and the new Pillsbury Doughboy balloon. We have animated floats from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Box, Slow Show; and for any of you that are going to be looking forward to seeing the movie Wonka, we've got a float celebrating that.

We have great performers this year. How many of you are Cher followers? So, Cher is here this year. We also have Jon Batiste is going to kick off the parade, so he's got an amazing performance planned. We have En Vogue, we have ENHYPEN, really, the best of Broadway, many shows there. The Radio City Rockettes are going to be back again; and of course, the one and only Santa Claus.

We also have the Macy's Singing Christmas Tree, and this year in our collaborations with Big Brothers Big Sisters in our commitment at Macy's to empowering youth, they're also going to be on the float with the Singing Christmas Tree.

So, on behalf of the Macy's family, without further ado, we want to wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving; and our illustrious mayor, Mayor Adams, I give you the mic.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thanks so much, Jeff, and we are welcome here with our amazing councilwoman, Councilwoman Brewer who has joined us as well. She said welcome to the Upper West Side. And I was telling Jeff, this is his Super Bowl. You know, they start from the day after Thanksgiving to look at how important it is to put on this amazing, amazing global display of really family values and family interactions.

And before I get started, I want to comment on the incident that occurred at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, New York. The NYPD and our team have been closely monitoring the situation. Deputy Commissioner Weiner has been communicating with our partners across all of the agencies involved, and the NYPD and partners have already enhanced security.

We've already had intense security because of the holiday, and we don't see any nexus between the incident there and here in New York City. We're going to continue to be out in full force. Chief Maddrey and his team will make sure we have the right manpower that's here, and we're going to continue to monitor all the chatter that's taking place to ensure that people can enjoy the holiday.

So, we're saying come out, enjoy yourselves. We will do our job. Your job is to have as much fun as possible. These are memories that will last a lifetime with our children here. They are so excited, but when I look at the individuals who are watching the balloons blow up, clearly I think the adults are having more fun than the children are, you know?

We also want to make sure that you come and enjoy yourselves as much as possible in a very safe way. You know, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade marks the launch of our holiday season. Thousands of families travel here, and for those who are outside the city, New Yorkers only ask you to do one thing and that is to spend money.

Spend a lot of money, shop, enjoy yourselves. They say shop until you drop. You know, leave all of your additional baggage here. We want you to leave all of your presidents that have transitioned, leave them right here: Grant, Washington, all of them, leave them right here in our stores.

And you know, thousands of families travel from around the nation and around the globe to see these balloons inflated, and we cannot wait to become a part of this great excitement. Think about it. 97 years of doing this, of having generations coming and enjoy all of the excitement that comes with this parade.

This year, as it was mentioned, Jeff mentioned, we will welcome back an old friend who knows his way around Thanksgiving kitchen, Poppin' Fresh, the Pillsbury Doughboy will be gracing our skies again with some of our favorites. Everyone loves Snoopy. I don't know who doesn't love Snoopy. Dino, SpongeBob SquarePants, and our good friend from down under, Bluey. And Baby Yoda, he's going to have the force with us to have a great parade.

The city's full of gratitude and thanks for all. I say this over and over again. Remember the season is Thanksgiving not Thanks‑receiving, so, let's go out and let's give some thanks to people who are not as fortunate as many of us. We are going to continue to have… Commissioner Iscol is here, we're going to monitor the wind speeds to make sure that if we may have to fly a little lower. He did an amazing job last night during the storm. Let's give it up for… Where's Commissioner Iscol? Unbelievable. You know, he was on the front line yesterday during the storm, just continuing to do the job, ex military person and now he's serving the greatest city in the world.

I also want to thank our Department of Transportation, Department of Parks and Recreation, New York City Emergency Management and others for overseeing the logistics and operations of the parade. And you know, just continue to stay on the front line. And the thousands of city workers who are just here to make sure that we're able to put on one of the greatest shows our city displays each year.

And so we're expecting cold temperatures, so bundle up, 20 to 25 miles per hour winds. And so we'll make the call if we're going to do a Code Blue due to the temperature if it drops below the appropriate level. But again, have a lot of fun. If you want to stay informed with special parade related information, text Thanksgiving to 692‑692 for updates. And always, NotifyNYC is a good way to stay abreast.

But thank you, Macy's. 97 years of memories, 97 years of really having what's great about this country during the Thanksgiving time. This is how many of us started our days for so many times, so many years of memories with families and loved ones who participate in the parade. And all the volunteers, we cannot thank them enough for coming out year after year, participating and blowing up the balloons as well as marching in the parade as well.

And listen, we're going to be safe because we have one of the top police commissioners on the globe that's here, and he's going to make sure that the men and women of the New York City Police Department are on the front line to make sure your families enjoy the safety. So, I want to turn it over to Police Commissioner Eddie Caban.
Police Commissioner Edward Caban: Thank you very much for those kind words, Mr. Mayor. Good evening, everyone, and we're thrilled to be here to welcome the millions of people who will be visiting New York City this holiday season. And it all begins with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This is one of most iconic events that happens in our city, and we are proud to partner with the amazing people at Macy's who make this event such an amazing success each and every year.

And this year, we want to especially thank the chairman and CEO of Macy's, Jeff Gennette. Jeff is stepping away after a 40‑year career with the company, and we wish him all the best in his well‑earned retirement. Congratulations, Jeff. We'll really miss working with you.
And as we kick off this holiday season, I also want to recognize the hard work of the men and women of the NYPD who take time away from their own families to make sure that New Yorkers can celebrate safely. They are the very best at what they do, and we have them to thank for tonight, tomorrow, and for the unmatched public safety that they provide all year long.

And along those lines, we can tell you there are no credible or specific threats to New York City or to tomorrow's parade at this time. Our intelligence analysts and our counterterrorism offices have been preparing for this event all year long, working closely with our federal, state and local partners.

Once again, there will be security measures that you will see like uniformed officers that will be on post on and around the parade route, and there will be other measures that you won't see. If you're planning on joining us tomorrow morning, we urge you to take public transportation and be aware that there will be street closures which will affect travel in Manhattan.

But most of all, bring your whole family. Come ready to have a great time and enjoy this wonderful event, because I'll surely be here with my family.

The eyes of the world continue to be on New York City, and we are confident this will be another fantastic Thanksgiving in the greatest city in the world. Thank you all for coming out tonight. Enjoy everything the holidays in New York City has to offer, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones. Stay safe and God bless.
Question: I know the commissioner said there were no specific or credible threats. I wonder if we could just hear a little bit in the context of what happened on the Canadian border a few hours ago. How if any way that changed the plan for tonight or for tomorrow. Any impact on the posture for you guys, for the [inaudible].
Mayor Adams: Commissioner. Did you hear his question?

Commissioner Caban: Thank you for that question, Josh. So, right now it hasn't changed any plans. We've been on heightened alert since October 7th, and we're going to continue to stay here and make sure every New Yorker is safe.

Question: Mayor, I know that you had said that NYPD sent several officers to Buffalo. What exactly are they doing? What are they relaying? If there's no nexus, what could they be doing to help? And also what do the enhancements look like because of what happened?

Mayor Adams: Well, when you saw the original photos and whenever you have a report of this magnitude with a potential explosion or fire, you want to be at a state of an over-abundance of caution. And we like to have NYPD personnel on the ground identifying if there is a nexus or identifying if there's something that we need to respond to immediately. It is always better to have NYPD personnel there, and that was the whole purpose of that.

You know, as the commissioner stated, we were already at high alert since October 7th, and so there were clear procedures that we were putting in place and not in response to what happened. But what we, you know, we wanted to be on top of things no matter what. So, there's no additional enhancements that we are putting in place because we are already at high alert.

Question: Hi, Mayor Adams.

Mayor Adams: Hey, Katie. How are you?

Question: I'm good. I know in previous… You said yesterday in previous years you once visited the country Turkey on Thanksgiving, but I want to ask you what your plans are… What your plans are tomorrow for Thanksgiving.

Mayor Adams: I'm going to do a couple of soup kitchens. I'm going to stop and visit people that are in some of our HERRCs. So, I'm going to move around. I'm going to spend the day really, you know, giving back. You know, this is a blessed time. The Salvation Army was there for me and my siblings. You know, they used to feed us during holiday times, and you know, we were very thankful for that.

And I think one way to inspire our children to be thankful and grateful is to spend some time helping those New Yorkers who have fallen on hard times. So, I'm going to spend some time. I'm going to go out to see Reverend Sharpton at NAN, and I have a few other locations. I know councilwoman in Queens… I mean, Brooklyn, one of our councilmwomen is doing something.

So I'm going to be all over the city. And I'm going to try to finish up by your parents, because your mother adores me. So, I'm going to try to get over to your mom's house and you know, enjoy some turkey there.

Question: Turkey? That's not vegan.

Mayor Adams: Okay. Well, we'll get a vegan meal.

Question: Mr. Mayor, Tom Hanson with CBS.

Mayor Adams: What's up, Tom?

Question: Happy Thanksgiving.

Mayor Adams: Thank you.

Question: Obviously, this is a high‑profile event with thousands and thousands of people in attendance tomorrow. What do you have to say to people who are going to be here to stay safe?

Mayor Adams: How… 

Question: What do you have to say to people to stay safe?

Mayor Adams: You know, see something, say something, do something. We are going to have the manpower that's here, and so you should let the police… I just love New York, 8.3 people, 35 million opinions. This is an amazing city. You know, but we want to tell them that, you know, there's police personnel here, let's speak to the police. You know, the police personnel that's there and make sure that they respond to whatever they see.

You know, that's the most important thing. And the police will be here to do their job. And listen, no one does it better than NYPD.

Question: If NYPD is sending resources upstate, is that having any sort of impact on the police footprint on the ground tomorrow?

Mayor Adams: No. We may send two officers up there. We're not sending personnel up there. So, I want to be clear on that. We're not sending a large contingent of personnel, we're sending officers up there that are good at analyzing exactly what is taking place. So, you know, we're not going to be depleting our personnel that's here.

Question: Mr. Mayor, I was wondering… Or commissioner, there's supposed to be several protests that might be disrupting the parade. I was wondering what the tolerance level of NYPD is going to be when it comes to protests given what happened in Buffalo.

Deputy Commissioner Rebecca Weiner, Intelligence and Counterterrorism, Police Department: So, just to reiterate exactly what the mayor and the police commissioner have been saying. We see no nexus between what happened up in Niagara Falls and New York City at all at this time. And as we did in Lewiston, Maine, a couple of weeks ago — again, an incident that was really significant, no nexus to the city or to terrorism — some of our efforts are just to try to understand what happened in as close to real time as possible.

So, that does not suggest that there's anything more to this incident at all, it just suggests that we have a voracious appetite for understanding things in order to help protect the city if we need to. We already, we're protecting our city and our parade in a heightened posture due to events overseas. We are prepared for tomorrow. We're really looking forward to tomorrow and whatever it brings.

And there have been protests, right? There's been nearly 400 over the last several weeks. We've had over 130,000 individuals coming out in the streets. These have been overwhelmingly peaceful, and we're going to make sure that they stay that way.

Mayor Adams: And it's really impressive when you think about it. You know, this department is able to handle a multiple of things that take place in this very complex city. And you know, over 400 protests where people were able to, you know, exercise their constitutional rights. But we're not going to tolerate any disruption. You know, we're very clear on that.

You're not going to destroy property. You're not going to injure people. That is not going to happen in the city. But you know, we are prepared to deal with a multitude of things that are taking place at one time, and we're used to doing it. The Police Department does it well in coordination with our other city agencies.

Question: I'm wondering, mayor and commissioner, are you guys getting reports that this is not terrorism related at this point? And in terms of how you respond to that, whether if it was terrorism, has that changed at all [inaudible].

Deputy Commissioner Weiner: So, I will say that it is very fluid at the time, and we are in very close coordination and communication with a wide range of partners who are there and who have the lead on the case. And we don't at this point see indications of terrorism.

But that said, you know, it's obviously an ongoing investigation. Again, no nexus to New York City. So, we'll learn more collectively about this incident in coordination with our partners as we go on, but I will say we don't see any indication as such yet.

Question: Happy Thanksgiving, mayor.

Mayor Adams: Thank you.

Question: There's tight security for this parade every single year. Is there anything in particular that's different this year, especially in light of the October 7th threat? New technology out? Is there anything that's different this year?

Mayor Adams: Well, it's clear that, you know, some of the chatter is that there would be, unlike other times, there would be some form of a protest happening in the city, and so we want to make sure that things go without any disruption at all. And so since, you know, what we have witnessed in the size of some of the protests, we want to make sure that we are taking extra precautions that we don't have any disruption. So, to answer your question, I think that does bring a new flavor this year.


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