He soars with ease to infinity and beyond, but Buzz Lightyear couldn’t get down Central Park West without a cart in his entourage running over a rope holder’s foot Thursday morning.
The accident at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade sent the rope holder — a Long Island school teacher — to the hospital, but didn’t mar the occasion for thousands of thrilled and chilled parade-goers, who crowded Midtown’s skyscraper canyons in near-freezing weather.
“It hit me from behind,” injured rope-holder Keri O’Connell told The New York Post of the red cart that was accompanying the “Toy Story” star when it accidentally ran over her right foot at West 75th Street.
“I was holding the balloon. I was in front of the of the car. All of a sudden, I was pulled down and the car was on my foot,” O’Connell said.
“I was like `Get it off, get it off, get it off!’
A Good Samaritan put pressure on her injured foot and elevated it, before an ambulance whisked O’Connell away.
Spider-Man, too, suffered a potentially devastating injury — a deflated left arm from being punctured by a Central Park tree at 77th Street — but was able to finish the route with his clipped wing.
Despite the mishaps and the blustery weather, parade-goers remained as buoyant as the balloons.
“It’s fabulous!” said Natasha Berbreen, 47, an Upper East Side decorator who watched the parade with her sons John, 9, and William, 7
“We saw the turkey on the lead float, which was great. I put my kids in scarves and hats and we’re in the sun, so it’s perfect. We came right when it started. We saw Jimmy Kimmel and Sandra Lee and Kelly Pickler. It’s fun! We’re not too cold.”
The New York Police Department had been poised to yank the parade’s 16 helium giants if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph and gusts topped 34 mph. But calmer winds prevailed.
“We had wind meters stationed throughout the route,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
Each of the giant balloons had a sergeant assigned to monitor its progress from 77th Street, down Central Park West, and then over to Sixth Avenue, where the parade ended in front of Macy’s at 34th Street.
The balloons flew at five feet below the maximum height to further protect them from buffeting.
“We were a little concerned about the cross currents — the canyon effect — so, it was determined just to be on the safe side that it stay 5 feet shorter than the maximum height, until they got down to Central Park South then turned onto Sixth Avenue,” Kelly said.
“I’d be very disappointed without the balloons,” said Maryann Mccrumb, 50, who traveled all the way from Florida to watch the parade.
“I’m very excited, even if I’m freezing cold,”
The parade started 9 a.m. at 77th Street, went down Central Park West, then bustled over to Sixth Avenue, ending in front of Macy’s at 34th Street.
Balloons have only been grounded once in the parade’s 87-year history, when bad weather kept them from flying in 1971.
The city enacted strict rules after fierce winds in 1997 caused a Cat in the Hat balloon to topple a light pole and seriously injure a spectator.
Security was high, with extra police personnel and monitoring equipment, the commissioner said.
Asked if he was going to march in the parade after this year, which is expected to be his last as head of the NYPD, Kelly said playfully, “I’m going to hold one of the balloons next year. I’ve already committed to hold a balloon.”
“Snoopy,” he answered.