After weeks of dealing with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, New York City is celebrating a warm and sunny Thanksgiving Day.

The Spiderman balloon makes its way down Sixth Avenue during the 86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (Andrew Kelly/Getty Images)

The temperature topped 50 degrees as more than 3 million people lined the streets to watch the annual Macy's parade.

50 milliion watched on TV, and such giant balloons as Elf on a Shelf and Papa Smurf, a new version of Hello Kitty, Buzz Lightyear, Sailor Mickey Mouse and the Pillsbury Doughboy. Real-life stars included singer Carly Rae Jepsen and Rachel Crow of "The X Factor."

The young, and the young at heart, were delighted by the sight and sound of marching bands, performers and, of course, the giant balloons. Some parade-goers had camped out to get a good spot, staying snug in sleeping bags. Others came well-prepared with folding chairs.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was reflective Thursday as he praised police, firefighters, armed services personnel, sanitation workers and volunteers involved in the storm response. His office was coordinating the distribution of 26,500 meals at 30 sites in neighborhoods affected by Sandy, and other organizations also were pitching in.

Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit were among the other big cities rolling out bands, cartoon character balloons and musical extravaganzas.

Airports, train stations and highways were expected to remain busy Thursday as people made their way home to reconnect with family and friends.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)