By Leslie Albrecht
UPPER WEST SIDE — New Yorkers who missed seeing the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year got a second chance Saturday when a movie shoot recreated the holiday tradition — complete with an inflatable Snoopy and a cheering audience.
in this case the crowd clapping as a giant turkey cruised down Central Park West were extras following orders on the set of "The Tower Heist," an action comedy starring Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy and Casey Affleck.
"I thought it was a time warp, I thought it was Thanksgiving day again," said one passer-by as he rounded the corner of Central Park West and West 61st Street and spotted some of the same floats he would have seen just nine days earlier at the real parade.
Some on-lookers wondered why the movie didn't shoot the scenes during the actual parade.
One possible explanation: the scene shot Saturday was a high-speed chase sequence involving a van weaving through the parade floats with a police car in hot pursuit. The scene ends with the van crashing through a line of parade watchers and police surrounding the vehicle with guns drawn.
The pretend parade delighted tourists like Jo Johnson of London, who posed for a snapshot with an actor in a Charlie Brown costume. Johnson and her mother Sue had wanted to visit New York over Thanksgiving, but flights were so expensive that they opted for the week after instead.
"This is just superb," said Sue Johnson. "We were going to miss (Thanksgiving), but we got one anyway," Jo Johnson said.
Joe McAndrew, a 70-year-old retired teacher visiting from Allentown, Pennsylvania, said he was so impressed with the fictional version of the parade that he called his wife to tell her they would be attending next year's Macy's parade in person.
"You see it on TV, but this is much more exciting to actually be here and watch the characters," said McAndrew. "From now on, I'm coming down here for the real parade."
"This is just a condensed version of the real thing," responded a local standing nearby.