Macy's Parade Studio is a Studio located in Moonatchie, New Jersey, where the Macy's Parade balloons, balloonicles, novelty balloons, and floats are designed, crafted and painted.
The original lofted concrete building at 15th Street and Willow Avenue was constructed at the turn of the last century, and was home to a manufacturer of elevator components during its earliest years. According to the 1918 Industrial Directory of New Jersey, the Elevator Supplies Company employed 600 people, making it one of the larger employers in the city before and during the First World War. By 1932, the national economy was experiencing its historic decline, and the workforce of the Hoboken firm (which also controlled a large Canadian elevator equipment company) dropped to 350. Newspaper reports during the Great Depression describe an unsuccessful attempt by the company’s stockholders to have a receiver appointed to take over Elevator Supplies, which later sold the building.
Sperry Products, Inc., manufacturers of electrical and hydraulic equipment, was the building’s next occupant. Until 1948, the Hoboken building was the headquarters and manufacturing center for a range of non-destructive testing equipment, including the Sperry Detector Car, which was used to test rail track for most of the railroads in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Although the Hoboken firm and Sperry Gyroscope had the same founder — Dr. Elmer A. Sperry — there was no corporate relationship between them. Sperry Products, Inc. relocated to Danbury, Connecticut in 1948.
The American Sweets Company - best known for its manufacture of Tootsie Rolls - moved into the building after Sperry Products departed, and continued through the early 1960s. Portions of the old concrete building were used to store cocoa, and other sections held paneled offices and candy-making machines.In 1968, Macy's Studio moved from a smaller warehouse in North Bergen, New Jersey, to Hoboken. The building was remarkably well-suited to the unusual needs of the Macy*s artistic and technical crew. With 44-foot-tall ceilings, 16,000 square feet of ground-level space, reinforced concrete walls, an overhead crane to lift elements, and beautiful light, the space was ideal for all aspects of float and balloon design and nearly all aspects of fabrication. After a 40-year-plus occupancy, the Parade Studio team announced in 2010 that they would be moving to a new and improved building in Moonachie, New Jersey. The building would later be demolished in 2013.The new building, located at 140 State Street, covers roughly 71,00-square-feet, and was custom-built for the Parade, making it now possible to inflate entire balloons and construct entire floats.
Below, you will find a list of areas that the parade studio contains.
The lobby is the first room in the Macy's Parade Studio. Inside the front door, there are various parade-related trinkets mixed in with average office decor. In one corner, under glass, is an Emmy statuette. It contains models of Gorgeous Gobbler, Weebles and the Energizer Bunny, among others. Two chairs and a coffee table are sat on the right side of the room, with an office behind it. Pictures of parade floats past and present also decorate the room. A doorway on the back side leads into the next room.
The design room contains balloons models of characters past and present hanging from the ceiling. On the left side, a shelf contains models of past parade floats, alongside several concept drawings for floats rolled into long tubes, and organised into years. Four office tidies are spread around the room as well. Several work tables are spread throughout the room, holding concept art and current balloons models, On the right, bookshelves hold various children's books, which the artists use a reference for floats and balloons. Next to these bookshelves is a door, which lead into the main part of the building.
Production Room and Float Workshop
The production room is the main part of the studio. Inside this room, the floats are constructed. This room is always the place for Press Day, and is arguably the most famous part of the studio. In one of the corners, a paint booth contains many different types of paint for the different types of float. John Piper likes to refer to the parade studio having "every color of the rainbow plus two".
The balloon workshop is where many of the Parade's iconic balloons get designed in-house. This room contains large shelves, where the current balloons still in use -- with a few exceptions -- are stored for the year between Parades, as listed below. This room is also large enough to fully-inflate an entire balloon with air.
Balloons that currently reside at Macy's Parade Studio
Below, you will find a list of the balloons, novelty balloons, and cold-air inflatables that are currently being stored in the Parade Studio's balloon storage room.
- The Elf on the Shelf (2012-Present)
- Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger (2014-Present)
- Pikachu (3rd version; 2014-Present)
- Pillsbury Doughboy (2nd version; 2014-Present)
- Ronald McDonald (4th version; 2015-Present)
- Sinclair's DINO (2nd version; 2015-Present)
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2nd version; 2016-Present)
- Trolls (2016-Present)
- Olaf (2017-Present)
- Jett by Super Wings (2017-Present)
- Chase from PAW Patrol (2017-Present)
- Dr. Seuss' The Grinch (2017-Present)
- Little Cloud (2018)
- Goku (2018-Present)
- Astronaut Snoopy (2019-Present)
- Smokey Bear (2nd version; 2019-Present)
- SpongeBob SquarePants & Gary (3rd version; 2013-Present)
- Green Eggs & Ham (2019-Present)