New York remains top U.S. port of entry

Through the first nine months of this year, overseas visitors passed mostly through only 15 ports of entry. These spots, according to the Department of Commerce accounted for 84 percent of entry traffic into the United States, gaining two percentage points over the first nine months of 2008. New York‘s JFK airport, Miami and Los Angeles dominated, pulling in 39 percent of all arrivals, up a percentage point from the same period last year.

Only four of the top 15 ports of entry in the United States saw traffic increase year-over-year: Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia and Fort Lauderdale. Of the 11 that posted declines, three did so at a double-digit rate. Visitation through Chicago fell a whopping 18 percent, which pushed it to seventh on the list, behind Honolulu. Houston fell a mere 3 percent, bringing up to #12, ahead of Boston. Philadelphia’s 6 percent gain moved it to #14, and a 3 percent increase in traffic through Fort Lauderdale brought it into the top 15 at the bottom spot. Detroit‘s 36 percent fall in overseas arrivals caused it to fall from the top 15.

How did international visitors enter the U.S. this year?

If you visited the United States from overseas, you probably hit the ground in one of 15 ports of entry. These top first stops accounted for 84 percent of all entries from overseas in the first eight months of 2009– up almost 2 percentage points from the same period in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Traffic through the major ports is becoming slightly more concentrated. This doesn’t include visits from Canada and Mexico.

New York JFK, Miami and Los Angeles continue to be the top three ports of entry for overseas visitors. Through August, these locations accounted for 39% of all arrivals from overseas, an increase of a percentage point from last year. Miami was the only one of these three to post a year-over-year increase, and it was joined only by Orlando MCO, Philadelphia and Fort Lauderdale. Meanwhile, 11 of the top 15 ports of entry posted decreases in arrivals. This is hardly surprising, given that visits to the Untied States from overseas are down 9 percent so far this year.

Chicago was hit particularly hard, losing 18 percent of its entry traffic and moving into #7 on the list, behind Honolulu. Detroit lost 36 percent of its inbound visitor share, falling to #16 — after Boston, Philadelphia and Fort Lauderdale.

NYC best city for singles (if you own a computer)

Looking for love lust on your next vacation? Your next trip should be to New York, which has knocked Atlanta out of the top spot as the best city in the country for singles. And, why wouldn’t it? You have more than 8 million people chasing their dreams, so the choices are endless. There’s one of everything, so in one night, you could meet every flavor of scumbag available. But, there’s an upside to all this variety, so don’t give up hope yet!

Atlanta fell to the sixth position, with Boston, Chicago, Seattle and Washington, D.C. occupying the second through fifth spots in this annual survey by San Francisco, Los Angeles, Milwaukee and Philadelphia round out the top 10.

This is New York’s first time in the #1 spot, which evaluates 40 of the largest cities in the United States for “coolness, cost of living alone, culture, job growth, online dting, nightlife, and ratio of singles to the entire population.” Notably absent are: willingness of hot girls in that city to talk to you, cost of buying several drinks for someone genuinely out of your league and adult bookstores nearby to help you when you strike out yet again.

Well … I think New York would win on that one, too.

What pushed New York into the winners circle, apparently, was the number of people with online dating accounts. The city has more people hitting the web to scratch their various itches than any other city in the country.

Top U.S. ports of entry

Eighty-six percent of international arrivals to the United States come through only 15 ports of entry, according to data from the Department of Transportation. This represents an increase of one percentage point over last year (measuring the first five months of 2008 to the first five months of 2009.

The top three ports of entry are hardly surprising: New York (specifically JFK), Miami and Los Angeles. How insane is it that the leading first impression of our country is in Queens?! These three spots were responsible for 40 percent of all arrivals so far this year. Their share of all international arrivals – trending with the top 15 – increased by roughly one percentage point year-over-year. Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia were the only members of this group to post increases.

Six of the top 15 ports of entry into the United States sustained double-digit decreases in arrivals. The stream through San Francisco is off 18 percent, moving it into the #6 position on the list (behind Honolulu). Detroit dropped 32 percent, pushing it to fifteenth, behind Boston and Philadelphia, and Agana, Guam fell 9 percent, putting it behind Chicago on the list.

Thanksgiving parades: more than just Macy’s

Looking for a good old-fashioned Thanksgiving parade, but aren’t up for Macy’s? Or perhaps you’re looking for the excitement and crowds of the Macy’s parade, but live on the wrong coast? Well, we’ve done some research here at Gadling and come up with 5 lesser-known parades worth checking out.

1.) America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration — Plymouth, Massachusetts

What better place to celebrate Thanksgiving than its birthplace? In their twelfth year, the festivities at Plymouth include music, historical reenactments, vintage American cars and hand-made floats. There’s also a food festival, where you can sample a variety of New England’s “culinary delights.” The events are sponsored by the Plymouth Rock Foundation, a non-profit organization that “strives to keep the traditions and values of early Americans from being forgotten.” I wonder if the historical reenactments will include stoning or the wearing of a scarlet letter?

The parade actually takes place on Saturday, November 17, which is the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Read all about it here.

%Gallery-9415%2.) America’s Thanksgiving Parade — Detroit, Michigan

The website for Detroit’s Turkey Day parade absolutely gushes with enthusiasm and pride. Apparently, this parade has “captured the imaginations of millions of children and their families for generations.” Whoa. If any of you have seen Waiting for Guffman, (incidentally my favorite movie) you might understand the eagerness of this website. But I digress. Here’s what the organizers have to say about their upcoming parade:

On November 22, 2007 we will celebrate the success of the great city of Detroit. Over the past decade, Detroit has seen some major transformations; new businesses, entertainment, restaurants, sporting and cultural events, festivals and of course PARADES!! With the exciting rebirth of the downtown area…the 2007 Parade celebrates “Hats off Detroit!”

If you’re at the parade, you can take part in a 10k “Turkey Trot,” 5k “Stuffing Strut,” or the “Mashed Potato Mile.” But maybe hold off on dinner until after you’ve run the race.

3.) McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade — Chicago, Illinois

This parade boasts “giant helium balloons, fabulous floats, award-winning marching bands, talented equestrian units, unique performance groups, and local and national celebrities.” What more could you ask for? The procession travels north on State Street from Congress to Randolph. Organizers expect 400,000 spectators and 1.5 million viewers. If you’re in the area but don’t feel like leaving your couch, catch the live broadcast on WGN-TV and WGN-DT 9.1 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. You’ll find more information here.

4.) Mother Goose Parade — El Caljon, California

Entering its 61st year, the Mother Goose Parade sets itself apart by offering what many other Thanksgiving festivals cannot — sunshine. If the threat of a Nor’Easter is keeping your buttocks firmly attached to your couch during all the Thanksgiving fun, it might be time to consider a little light therapy. Held on November 18th, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, this procession doesn’t start until the afternoon, which allows you ample time to lounge around poolside beforehand. But be warned: spectators begin lining up at 8:00 a.m.

5.) 6ABC/Boscov’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Although the Macy’s parade tends to steal the limelight as the nation’s biggest, Philly’s parade was actually our nation’s first — it began in 1920. Not that the anyone’s bitter or anything. The march lasts more than three hours and features 13 marching bands, floats, balloons, a 1,000-member youth choir, a tap dance troupe, and all the Disney characters. Santa takes up the rear, so you might want to have your Christmas list ready.

This one takes place on November 22, starts at 8:00 a.m., and is free. More info here.

Finally, for those traditionalists out there, be sure to check out our gallery of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day floats. Little on this planet can compare with the eye-popping wonder of these mega-balloons!