Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons lay on their bellies on the pavement of West 77th Street in Manhattan as they were inflated on Wednesday evening.
Spectators to the inflation of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons streamed by, children in strollers pointing out their favorites, parents pulling tiny parkas closed and shoving little hats down on heads as the wind steadily picked up throughout the afternoon.
New York City officials have been monitoring that wind, wary that strong breezes could mean that Spider-Man will not soar and Woodstock from “Peanuts” may not get his bird’s-eye view.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons may not be flown if the weather creates hazardous conditions
Earlier weather predictions of winds that would exceed NYC’s limit for flying balloons — a rule that kicks in if winds are 23 miles per hour or more and gusts exceed 34 mph. — had been scaled down. New predictions as of 4 p.m. on Wednesday called for Thanksgiving morning winds of 20 mph with gusts of 30 to 35 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
The final decision will be made on Thursday morning by several agencies, based on guidelines that were created after a Cat in the Hat balloon hit a lamppost at 72nd Street and Central Park West in 1997, knocking down part of the pole and injuring four spectators.
Forecasting winds in the city is challenging because of the “canyon effect,” with the tall buildings along the parade route creating a tunnel, said Joe Picca, a meteorologist at the Weather Service.
“Tomorrow before the event we will make a determination,” said James P. Hall, the Police Department’s chief of patrol, on Wednesday afternoon.
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As her family was struggling financially and was unable to afford a big Christmas celebration, all that 5-year-old Helen Berence Cardenas de Reyes wanted, when she wrote a Christmas message to Santa, was a doll, some clothes and a pair of shoes.
Helen Berence Cardenas de Reyes from Auburn, Washington, attached her frugal Christmas list to two balloons and set it off hoping it would somehow reach Santa in the North Pole.
Julie Sanders and her son discovered the scrap of paper while they were out on their quad bikes near their home in Laytonville, California.
Although Helen’s letter was written in Spanish they could tell it was a Christmas list and could make out a few words.
So Julie Sanders asked a ranch hand to translate the rest of note.
Julie Sanders told ABC news: “The fact that she asked for a doll, some pants, boots and nothing materialistic, I just knew it was a family in need.
“I thought if I we can get a hold of them we can make sure there is something for her under the tree for Christmas.”
Julie Sanders decided to get on the phone and called up the family.
She found out that Helen’s mother is injured and her father had struggled to find any work at all this year.
Little Helen sent her letter on December 2, which is a particularly emotional date for Julie Sanders as it is the birthday of her brother, who passed away a few years ago.
So kind-hearted Julie Sanders headed to the shops and bought little Helen a few outfits and toys.
Julie Sanders addressed the package from Santa and sent it special delivery so it could be under the girl’s tree in time for Christmas.
Dennis Dodds, a family friend of the Sanders was also there when they found the balloon message.
He told ABC: “Laytonville is a small timber industry town that has lost its mill. People here know what it is like to struggle around the holidays. It is always good to pay it forward.
“We’ve been in that situation ourselves, I know what it feels like,’ said Sanderson ‘but now we are in the position to help so it really felt good to help this little girl.”
Helen’s mother, Rosa Cardenas de Reyes, said she helped send the note.
The mother said: “I didn’t know what to do.
“So I always told her we would send a balloon to Santa because that was a tradition when I was little.”