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‘An abomination’: Macy’s annual Thanksgiving parade shredded by unhappy critics

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Macy’s has put on a Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City since 1924.

For this year’s version, the department store chain and its television partner, NBC, which has broadcast the parade since 1953, undoubtedly were under considerable pressure to produce the event during a pandemic. But apparently the 2020 version came off so poorly that spectators were unwilling to cut Macy’s a break for coronavirus conditions.

As the New York Post reported on Thursday afternoon, “Keyboard critics roasted the NBC broadcast, including various acts, lip-syncing performers and everything from the Rockettes not doing their legendary kicks to some unusual balloons.”

“I’m use to them lip-syncing but this year most were absolutely horrible with it,” one watcher tweeted under the Post’s account of the parade.

“How could they cut off Patti LaBelle? The show is an abomination #macys,” wrote another. 

A third brought up the generational influence. “I couldn’t finish watching it,” he tweeted. “Sad that now millennials are running the entire show. It lacked depth.”

The event was scaled back to meet public health restrictions imposed to combat the virus, the Post noted. That meant it was largely geared for a TV audience.

The NYPD erected distant barricades to keep at bay any curious onlookers who might show up in person. Instead of its traditional 2.5-mile route, the parade ran for just one block, right in front of Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street. Many of the musical acts were pre-recorded, and most of the parade’s famous balloons shown on TV were recycled from previous broadcasts. Performers who marched along the truncated route were forced to wear masks and maintain social distancing requirements. Variety noted that the number of live performers was slashed by 88 percent for the 2020 edition.

According to the Post, the few fans who ventured near the site in person were just as unimpressed as many who watched at home.

“I would have been better off watching this on TV,” a rare live spectators, Julia Korzah, told the Post. “All I can see is the top of the Empire State building.”

Another visitor, Meghan Macklin, of Philadelphia, lamented to the Post, “I guess New York doesn’t want too many spectators. There have been no floats in person, everything was prerecorded, what you see on TV is different. Disappointing.”

Meanwhile, even the woke brigades took umbrage.

As one set of performers came into view, Macy’s tweeted, “What’s that sound, you ask? Why it’s the diverse dance group, Zeta Phi Beta Steppers!” who were “Performing a special routine they put together to help us celebrate this unprecedented year.”

As it turns out, the “group” were actually members of Zeta Phi Beta, an all-Black sorority founded in 1920. MSNBC host Joy Reid was among those critics, tweeting, “Um… hey @Macys that’s not a ‘dance group.’ Zeta Phi Beta is a Black sorority founded at Howard U in 1920 and part of the Divine Nine,” a reference to the nine historical Black Greek fraternities and sororities on the national Pan-Hellenic Council.

Macy’s deleted that tweet, and reposted: “Look who just STEPPED things up. We loved having @ZPHIBHQ—an international, historically Black Sorority—with us at the #MacysParade for their centennial.”

Apparently for many parade watchers, the author Jennifer Churchill’s son offered an apt reaction as he watched the ad-laden live stream by parade sponsor Verizon: “Mom, it’s just a bunch of commercials. Whoever is making this a show of all commercials should be locked in a bathroom … for a year!”

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