NEW YORK, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Survivors of Superstorm Sandy had front-row seats Thursday for the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.
The total audience of New Yorkers and visitors was about 3 million, the New York Daily News reported. Millions more saw some or all of the parade on TV as giant balloons made their way north.
Buzz Lightyear and Hello Kitty appeared to be the most popular balloons -- or at least the ones that got the biggest cheers.
Carl Dees, a Federal Emergency Management Agency employee from Tennessee, was in New York to help with recovery from Sandy. He told the News seeing the parade in person was one of his "lifelong dreams."
"I'm getting to see something that I would never get to see," Dees said. "Seeing the parade is amazing."
Raphael Lilker is living temporarily with his parents on Long Island along with his wife and their two children. Their home in the Belle Harbor neighborhood in the Rockaways was heavily damaged by Sandy, although Lilker told The New York Times they were planning to try having Thanksgiving Dinner there after the parade.
"It's almost like a mini-vacation to be here," Lilker said. "I wouldn't say it was worth a hurricane to get it, but it's nice for the city to treat us when we have nothing."