For the sixth consecutive year, I covered the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the Upper West Side by the talent trailers, starting my morning with a Starbucks hot chocolate on 82 and Columbus and ending with a photo of Santa before returning to my apartment for video editing.
But for the first time, that trip to-and-from my perch involved more than a walk two avenues over. Sure, the commute time from the Financial District to my old hood affected my alarm clock, but it didn’t stop me from feeling the holiday spirit and enjoying the time-honored tradition of the parade.
The week of Thanksgiving has turned in to one of my favorite times of the year. It starts in Los Angeles, covering the American Music Awards. A trip to In-N-Out Burger and red-eye flight later, I’m back east and for the next two days, my show airs at its normal time. Then Thursday morning, I’m up at 6 am so I can shower, grab a hot chocolate and walk over to the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I stay on the parade route until Santa passes me, which is usually about 10 am. Then I head back to my apartment, edit all of the celebrity interviews and videos I recorded from the morning and begin to figure out what the rest of my evening looks like.
Clearly, this week isn’t busy enough, so this year I added a new wrinkle: after the parade, I was going to fly home to Niagara Falls to see my family for Thanksgiving. It would be the first time in nine years that I was eating turkey in Western New York for the holiday.
This wasn’t my idea; my Mom was adamant on me returning home for the holiday. I think part of the reason is because she felt bad that for the first time in three years she and/or the rest of my squad wasn’t trekking to New York for Thanksgiving.
My sister picked me up from Buffalo-Niagara International Airport and drove me home. I spent the rest of the evening (sans a break for turkey) finishing the social media updates and editing necessary for both 95.5 PLJ and our sister station, NASH FM 94.7. A coffee and amaretto or three later and I was done for the night.
On Friday I slept in before running 5 miles through my old neighborhood and linking up with my cousin Anthony for some drinks and leftover antipasto at my house. Then I headed down to Buffalo, where I met some old high school friends at a spot called Buffalo Proper. It’s a dimly-lit cocktail lounge with a full kitchen and pretty fantastic vibe. I would recommend the Tatanka and this, the Smoke Break, served on an ash tray.
The trip home was a quick one, as I flew out Saturday morning because I wanted to catch Syracuse play South Carolina at Barclays Center, a game they would lose. But with friends in town for the weekend, I ended up having a fun Saturday night (slash Sunday morning) out, along with a solid Football Sunday that saw my Bills notch a win.
For my fifth consecutive year, I made the long (a couple blocks) trek to the Upper West Side and covered the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, taking in the sights and talking with some of the parade’s performers and special guests. Hear from Fitz & The Tantrums, Laurie Hernandez, Daya, Jacob Whitesides, Aloe Blacc, Ben Rector, Brett Eldredge and more!
Last weekend was of the long variety for me; with an abundance of vacation to use before the end of the year, it won’t be the final time that happens in 2016 either.
It was also the last weekend before I began one of the craziest but also most enjoyable stretches of my year: flying to Los Angeles to cover the “American Music Awards” and then back to New York for the “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.” So I knew that over the course of the three days I needed to find time to rest, run a few errands and work out.
While completing all of the above, I also decided to try something new on Friday night: I got a massage. My buddy Nick is a former massage therapist, so I called him for some advice on where to go and what to look for price-wise. I ended up choosing the performance massage at my local Equinox, which was the perfect way to wind-down from a day that included a 5.6 mile run.
On Saturday I got another run in before hopping aboard NJ Transit to pay Newark a visit. My Sabres were in town to play the Devils and even though I’ve adopted the Devils as my local team (I mean c’mon, they gave me a jersey with my name on it!), I had to show up to support the blue and gold. Yes, New Jersey won but me along with my colleague Dan and his son Justin had a great time at the game. Our seats weren’t too shabby either. Big thanks as always to Kerry and the Prudential Center for having us!
The weekend wrapped with, you guessed it, another run – followed by a Football Sunday and a trip to H&M to pick-up a few last-second items for the trip west. It was a very productive weekend, which was perfect, because I had a very busy week waiting for me.
My Thanksgiving tradition: Waking up early, walking a few blocks to Central Park West, chatting with some friends who are performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and snapping a few photos and videos the floats.
A big thanks to Macy’s along with Rachel Platten, Pat Monahan, Brendon Urie, Questlove, Shawn Mendes, Prince Royce, Trey Songz and Spongebob Squarepants.
Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz stopped by “Ralphie Tonight” to mostly talk about the band’s single “Centuries.” It serves as the lead single from FOB’s forthcoming LP, American Beauty/American Psycho and samples the 1981 Suzanne Vega hit, “Tom’s Diner.”
Pete also chatted on the show about last year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which FOB performed in but was not prepared for at all.
For my third straight year, and second with a press pass, I walked to the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the Upper West Side. There, I got up close and personal with some of this year’s performers and had a unique perspective as the floats and balloons made their way on to the parade route.
Early Thanksgiving morning, I grabbed my BlackBerry and about 30 layers, walked over to Central Park, and caught up with Gavin DeGraw, the Goo Goo Dolls, Jimmy Fallon, Fall Out Boy, and more at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!
So what’s more nerve-wracking: Reading off a teleprompter in front of a national TV audience, or performing a song in front of the same audience? If you answered the former, then you have something in common with Florida Georgia Line.
“I’d rather play a whole show and I’d be less nervous than getting up there and trying to read,” singer Tyler Hubbard told “The Ralphie Show” ahead of this weekend’s American Music Awards. Last year the duo presented an award; this time the group has four nominations and will perform. “It’s just a whole another ball game for me at least but we got through it.”
Florida Georgia Line is up for Best New Artist, Single Of The Year, Favorite Country Band, Duo or Group, and Favorite Country Album. Of course the band’s big 2013 was fueled by the hit “Cruise,” with a crossover-friendly remix featuring rapper Nelly.
“We grew up listening to him,” Brian Kelley said of the “Country Grammer” star. “When we got the mix back, I still think about it. I’ll never forget the day we got it back. We were on the bus, and we listened to it probably a hundred times.”
Hubbard noted that Nelly proved to be more than just a solid musical collaborator.
“He gives us all kinds of advice. He’s a smart, smart guy,” Tyler said. “One thing that we definitely took from the beginning was, he’s just big on, yunno everything is just happening so fast for us and he’s just like, ‘Man, you can only be the new guys once. So just enjoy it, live it up, and keep working hard.’”
FGL will round out the year with a performance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and some December commitments before calling it a year on December 16. Suffice to say the southern boys haven’t quite acclimated to the northern weather yet.
“We’ll be back in New York, trying to stay warm,” Hubbard said. “I need to find me a scarf.”
“You probably won’t recognize us on the float,” added Kelley. “The only thing that’s going to be showing is our eyes and maybe our nose. We will be bundled up.”
“I liked the ‘Animal’ version better,” Glenn admitted in an interview on “The Ralphie Show.” “But its fun… we’re never going to stop someone from covering our music.”
Guitarist Chris Allen disagreed – favoring the latest performance to the previous. Drummer Elaine Bradley is just happy that the band’s music is still featured on the hit TV show.
“We want to be gracious,” she explained. “It’s flattering that they covered it.”
Neon Trees will be able to play its own tracks live for fans next year, when the band supports Maroon 5 on tour.
“Adam (Levine) and (James Valentine) saw us play a couple years ago… one of the Christmas shows, in Buffalo,” recalled Glenn. “Adam made a comment that we really reached for it and we just didn’t like play live and were boring so I think he liked that.”
Owl City will also join the bands for 31 dates. The trek begins in mid-February and runs through early April.