by Xinhua writers Liu Yanan, Zhang Mocheng
NEW YORK, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers lined up 2.5 miles of streets on Thursday morning to enjoy the pleasure and amusement brought by the annual Thanksgiving parade.
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year made a full return following a much shorter and mostly virtual one last year at the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Yorkers are facing a kind of new normal in their life amid continuous pandemic, inflation pressures and safety measures.
The parade featured 15 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 36 novelty and heritage inflatables, more than 800 clowns, ten marching bands and nine performance groups, a host of musical stars, and the one-and-only Santa Claus, according to an earlier release by Macy's.
Six new floats made their debut, including Birds of a Feather Stream Together by the streaming service Peacock, Celebration Gator by Louisiana Office of Tourism, Gravy Pirates by the Kraft Heinz Company, Magic Meets the Sea by Disney Cruise Line.
The event was subject to tight security measures with a number of late spectators being kept one block away from the route of the parade.
Days ago, a vehicle plowed through a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee of Wisconsin, killing six people and injuring over 60.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday called Al Roker, one of the hosts of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade, saying "My message is after two years, you're back, America's back."
Measures were still in place to contain risks from infections of the coronavirus as the 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases has been hovering around 90,000 in the United States.
Parade staffers and volunteers were required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks, while some singers and performers could take their masks off.
Macy's and the New York City also encouraged spectators to cover their faces though there was no mandate for inoculation.
The Thanksgiving holiday also came at a time when Americans have been facing sticky inflation pressures.
Macy's, a household retail brand, is offering discounts to woo shoppers via both online and offline channels.
Macy's could sometime pass higher costs of fashion apparels to customers and raise sales prices while it faces a "price ceiling" for commodity items such as basic T-shirts or denim jeans, according to Macy's Chief Executive Jeff Gennette.
Macy's has been running tests in the last three months to see which kinds of goods are sensitive to price changes and which ones could fetch higher prices without hurting sales much.
U.S. low-end retail brand Dollar Tree, Inc. on Tuesday announced that it would raise benchmark unit price to 1.25 U.S. dollars from 1 U.S. dollar at its stores all across the country following earlier pricing tests.
"Now, that's 125 cents. There's no more 99 cents. Everything is going up, all over the world," said a Brooklyn resident who only gave his name as Jose, who bought some plastic cups and gift bags from a Dollar Tree store along Hamilton Avenue in Brooklyn on Thursday afternoon.
"If you go to the supermarket and you pay 50 U.S. dollars or 75 U.S. dollars, you get nothing," Jose said.
"When you have a big family, like three or four kids, that's very hard," he said.
The price of turkey has gone up from 1.29 dollars per pound last year to the current 1.89 dollars to 2.49 dollars, according to Jose.
Jose said his holiday wish is all of the family would be healthy. "We can work, we get the money."