New York City will have a “stronger than ever” police presence at Thursday’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the wake of last month’s deadly truck attack in lower Manhattan, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday.
De Blasio and the NYPD’s top brass, speaking at a news conference in Queens, said the city will deploy aviation units, heavy weapons teams, rooftop surveillance teams and K-9 units and use sand trucks to stop possible vehicle attacks as the parade makes its way through midtown Manhattan starting at 9 a.m.
“We will have a very forceful NYPD presence,” de Blasio said. He added that there are currently no “credible or specific” threats against the city.
On Wednesday, the balloon inflation celebration that usually draws thousands of spectators to Manhattan’s west side will now occur between 1 and 8 p.m., two hours earlier than in years past, NYPD Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan said.
Spectators for Wednesday’s event will be screened starting at noon at an entry point at West 74th Street and Columbus Avenue and, for the first time, will not be allowed to enter with large backpacks, coolers, chairs and umbrellas, though strollers will be allowed, Monahan said.
“We’re doing everything we can to ensure a safe venue,” Monahan said.
The amplified police presence around the Wednesday and Thursday events comes nearly a month after eight people were killed in TriBeCa when a suspected terrorist pledging allegiance to the Islamic State mowed them down in a rental pickup truck. The suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, a native of Uzbekistan, remains in federal custody on two terrorism charges.
“We are very clear about the pain that hangs in the air because of the attack last month . . . but we said right away after that horrible tragedy . . . New York’s response is to remain strong and resilient,” de Blasio said.
Macy’s vice president Susan Tercero said the company has been working with authorities year-round on a security plan to keep eventgoers safe.
“This is a parade that is about bringing people together,” Tercero said. The parade is celebrating its 91st anniversary this year.