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NYPD: Parades must get shorter to save money

Say it ain't so, Snoopy!

The New York City Police Department said Monday that parades have to get shorter in length and duration - which could mean less of the world-famous balloon characters, including the cartoon canine, at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan.

As a result of a reduction to the police department's budget for planned events, spokesman Paul J. Browne said new rules will require organizers of all of the city's parades to trim routes 25 percent and to keep them to less than five hours.

The department estimates it could save $3.1 million with the changes, helping to avoid cuts in necessary services, Browne said.

It wasn't immediately clear how the new rules, which go into effect on April 1, would alter the many dozens of parades held throughout the city.

But there are some, such as the Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan and the West Indian Carnival Parade in Brooklyn, that last more than five hours as they travel miles-long routes.

Orlando Veras, a spokesman for the Macy's parade, said that organizers were talking with the police about this year's route, and would address the new rules during those discussions.

"Macy's has always been a cooperative partner with the NYPD and other city agencies in the production of the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," Veras said in a statement.

Famous for its colorful floats, marching bands and gigantic balloons representing pop culture icons, the Macy's parade lasts from 1 1/2 to two hours and draws millions of spectators from around the world.

In 2009, the parade route was about 2.65 miles long.

Organizers of the city's Labor Day Parade, one of the oldest and largest parades in the city, said that they had not heard of the new rules and would have to analyze them.

Carolyn Daly, a spokeswoman for the NYC Central Labor Council, said the only concern was that if they had to shorten the parade that it might mean fewer unions could participate.

"We don't like to put restrictions on who can and cannot march," she said.

Held on the weekend after Labor Day, the parade usually runs for about five hours through midtown Manhattan.

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