Times Square hotels lament loss of parade
For the first time in 86 years, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade next week will not pass through Times Square. The new route along Sixth Avenue is causing consternation for businesses in Times Square, particularly hotels that are missing out on higher room rates, and jubilation for those who now have a view of the giant balloons and fantastical floats. Since 2009, when Macy's decided to alter the parade route because of the addition of pedestrian plazas in Times Square, the parade has traveled down Seventh Avenue and crossed over to Times Square finishing on Sixth Avenue. This year it will turn right from Central Park South on to Sixth Avenue where it will make a beeline to Herald Square. The Times Square Alliance, a business improvement district, has fought the change. "We will take the temperature of businesses after the parade this year," said a spokeswoman for the Alliance, "but our assumption is that many of them will still want to advocate for the parade returning to Times Square in future years." There are 11 hotels with 8,332 rooms in Times Square that are missing out this year compared with six hotels with 3,055 rooms along the parade route on Sixth Avenue, according to the Alliance. Of course, those six hotels couldn't be happier. The Residence Inn on Sixth Avenue and West 39th Street, a 357-room property, has 24 rooms that offer a bird's-eye view of the parade, commanding a three-night minimum stay for up to $3,000. Another 52 rooms on higher floors of the Marriott operated property require a two-night stay. "We didn't have these packages when the parade went down Broadway and Seventh Avenue," said Jim McCabe, director of sales and marketing. "We will see the parade continuously coming towards us for over 20 blocks." Other Marriott properties along Broadway are fully booked during the holiday, said a spokeswoman for the company, "but they can't sell rooms with a view anymore." The Hilton New York on Sixth Avenue, between West 53rd and West 54th streets, is also offering a variety of packages from three- to five-night minimum stays based on the room's view of the parade. Rooms with the best view start at a rate of $987 per night. Other hotels benefiting from the new route are the JW Marriott Essex House on Central Park South, which is fully booked, and the Ritz-Carlton New York Central Park. Macy's has cited safety as one reason it wants to keep the parade on Sixth Avenue, which is wider and does not require tricky turns like the previous route along Broadway and Seventh Avenue.
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