Written by Alex Eggerking
With 2016 coming to a close, Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Thanksgiving is of course a time when so many Americans travel to spend time with family and loved ones, and it can tend to highlight that we Aussies are quite a way from home.
Thankfully, New York offers a myriad of options to the orphans and tourists remaining in the city for the holiday. In case Thanksgiving has crept up on you in 2016 and you are still tossing up how to spend the day, we’ve put together this guide on how to make the most of the holiday.
To start your day in true New York style…
Unleash your inner child as you soak in the pageantry of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in its 90th year. The parade features everything from the iconic giant balloons of America’s favorite characters, to all-American floats, and performers across almost every genre you could imagine: De La Soul, Regina Spektor, and Tony Bennett, just to name a few. Sprinkled in between come marching bands, clowns and dancing groups (we are particularly keen to see the Tap Dancing Christmas Trees from California…).
Where to watch in person: The parade starts at 9am on the Upper West Side at West 77th St, dances its way down Sixth Ave, and finishes outside Macy’s at Herald Square. If you’re prepared to camp out early (as in 6am early), you could head towards the start of the parade at Central Park West around 75th St. If waking up before 6am on a public holiday isn’t your thing, it might be best to find a spot somewhere along Central Park South between Columbus Circle and Sixth Ave, or down Sixth Ave between Central Park and 38th St. Keep in mind that there is limited or no public viewing toward the parade finish. Visit the official parade website for a helpful visual guide on where to watch.
If crowds aren’t your thing: You can also watch the televised broadcast of the parade on NBC.
If you’ve already got plans on Thanksgiving morning but want to take in some of the spectacle: Members of the public can head along to watch the inflation of the parade balloons during the afternoon and evening of Wednesday, November 23. To participate, head to the entrance of the inflation area at West 79th St near at Columbus Ave (by the American Museum of Natural History) between 3pm and 10pm. View a map of the area here.
If you’re hankering for Thanksgiving dinner but have a typical New York kitchen…
Make like a quintessential New Yorker and book yourself a spot in a restaurant. While many people living in New York will be heading home to spend Thanksgiving with family, plenty of New York restaurants remain open to cater to Thanksgiving orphans. Here are a couple of options, which, at the time of writing, still had some availability.
Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, 53 Great Jones St, New York
Thanksgiving dinner runs from 1pm to 9pm
Menu: 4 courses, prix-fixe
Cost: $85 per person, $45 for children under 12 (beverages, tax and gratuity not included)
Reserve: through their website, or call (212) 837-2622
Rosemary’s, 18 Greenwich Ave, New York
Thanksgiving dinner runs from 12pm to 9pm
Menu: 4 courses, prix-fixe
Cost: $75 per person, $25 for children (beverages, tax and gratuity not included)
Reserve: by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (212) 647-1818
Burke & Wills, 226 W 79th St, New York
Reynard at the Wythe Hotel, 80 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn
Thanksgiving dinner runs from 12pm to 8pm
Menu: 4 courses, prix-fixe
Cost: 4 courses, $95 per person (including gratuity, excluding beverages and tax)
Reserve: by calling Reynard on (718) 460-8004
Jones Wood Foundry, 401 E 76th St, New York
The internet boasts many other curated lists of New York restaurants offering Thanksgiving menus, such as this one put together by Eater.
If you’re in the spirit to give back to the community…
Plenty of New Yorkers get into the spirit of Thanksgiving by helping those in the city who are less fortunate. As evidence of New York’s spirit of generosity, many of the major Thanksgiving Day charity volunteering positions have already been filled, but you could enquire with:
Feeding NYC: help prepare, package and deliver holiday dinners to the many families in need in New York. At the time of writing there were limited packaging shifts available, as well as the option to donate.
New York Cares: New York Cares makes available many opportunities on, and in the lead up to, Thanksgiving. Many spots had filled up at the time of writing, but we would recommend checking back in with the website in case other opportunities become available.
If you’re feeling particularly active on Thanksgiving morning…
Give yourself license to eat that extra helping at Thanksgiving dinner by taking part in a New York turkey trot.
If you’ve always wanted to cook a Thanksgiving turkey, or candied yam…
Check out this mouth-watering collection of recipes from the New York Times that evokes all of America’s states and territories.
Wondering what is going to be open on Thanksgiving?
Here is a list of liquor stores, pharmacies and grocery stores open on Thanksgiving around the city.
For once the turkey coma sets in and all you want to do is sit on the couch…
TimeOut has put together this guide to essential Thanksgiving movie watching.
How are you spending Thanksgiving?
Let us know in the comments below if you’ve got any other suggestions! We’d love to hear from you.