A Memorable Thanksgiving Parade Moment for Andra Day and Common

A Memorable Thanksgiving Parade Moment for Andra Day and Common


For my first post of 2018 (disregarding I haven’t made any post, rehash or unique in 6 months), I wanted to share a fun little moment from the 2017 Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (gallery on BrooklynVegan) is a fast moving event given the number of people (in bands or in costumes for example), floats and balloons participating in the annual event. Given that many of the balloons appear year after year, I find those less interesting to photograph in general, especially if I have got shots of them before and because an angle from the ground can only do so much with something flying 60+ feet (a guess) above your head. Floats themselves are often corporate- or product-branded and, save for the Sesame Street one, lack any sort of theme I find interesting.

People are certainly more interesting. Uniformed bands may have color guards or powerful drum lines working in unison. Costumed groups, clowns or breakfast foodstuffs, often interact with the crowd allowing for some fun candids when someone has confetti tossed on them for example. Crowds (non-parade participants) can be interesting too. But the Thanksgiving Parade is a family affair, and it’s often cold weather, so there are less interesting characters immediately within eyesight, or at least as compared to the Halloween parade or the Mermaid Parade. If protestors are present they offer a good break from the typical, rapt crowd. 

The biggest draw ends up being celebrities, especially ones that I might not otherwise have a chance to photograph, from music, television and film. Tony Bennett, Smokey Robinson, Mariah Carey and many more have made their way into my frames. Depending on whether or not you are determined to chase a float, it is easy to not get a great shot of a celeb as the parade can move really, really fast (it has to move from West 82nd to Herald Square in 3 hours). There are occasional pauses though and, in 2017, one pause allowed for me to witness a really fun moment.

A float with Andra Day and Common was approaching and happened to stop just short of my position. This meant I had a better than normal chance of getting a pic of the two of them looking towards me. But instead of turning towards the crowd, I noticed Andra direct Common’s attention towards a building on the other side of the street from me. I followed her gaze to see Lin-Manuel Miranda in the window, laughing at the coincidence of seeing his famous friends on the float seeing him (they had worked together on the Hamilton Mixtape if nothing else).  Andra and Common seemed to appreciate the moment just as much.

I wonder if Leslie Odom, Jr. caught sight of his friend as well (he was on the Sesame Street float).

And I really enjoy the awesome Mario Bros holiday sweater Manuel is wearing.

[If you are wondering why Olaf is in the pictures, it is because I wanted to exclude Manuel’s son (I presume) from the photos. I didn’t want to post these pictures originally. And I couldn’t decide whether or not to crop the photos so much as possible or to cover him up, but I didn’t want him in the pics as it wasn’t about him and I think Manuel avoids posting pics of him. I guess I should have excluded the others in the window as well based on my logic but I don’t know their connection to anyone else in the room.]

EDIT: It turns out that I made a good move adding Olaf, as IHeartRadio notes in their article titled “Lin-Manuel Asks Fans To Not Take Photos Of Son At Thanksgiving Day Parade” as that’s what Miranda asked fans to do in a twitter post.