Even though Eli Manning wins the Super Bowl every few years and is honored with a float ride up the “Canyon of Heroes,” the famous one-mile route from Bowling Green at the Battery, up Broadway, turning on Worth Street and ending in front of City Hall, it was my first ticker tape parade since moving to NYC, and it snuck up on me.
Not on my game, I discovered that the parade was happening two and a half hours before it began. With “Big Blue” skies and freakishly warm February weather, I couldn’t resist riding downtown on my bike to join the throngs of deliriously happy Giants fans yelling “Twice is nice” to the team who won the championship rings in 2008, also as underdogs and also against Tom Brady and the Patriots.
I found a spot where the float turns from Broadway onto Worth Street, but at just 5 feet 4 inches in height and too much heft to comfortably climb up on anyone’s shoulder who does not play for the Giants, my view was limited – although in super friendly New York fashion, a lovely young woman who works in the drug store we were standing in front of brought out a step stool for me to perch on.
What’s a roof explorer to do while waiting for the Super Bowl Champs to receive Keys to the City from Mayor Bloomberg? I LOOKED UP, of course, and saw a few people on the rooftop of the building across the street from my little drug store footstool. In that nanosecond, I knew I had possibly made a “Giant” mistake and not searched out a rooftop from which to watch the tons of recycled paper rain down on New York City’s football heroes.
Ticker tape parades, invented in New York’s Financial District about 150 years ago, haven’t always been about sports celebrations. The first ticker tape parade began spontaneously on October 28, 1886 to celebrate the dedication of the Statue of Liberty when the streets were filled with people celebrating.
“All this display was an inspiration to so many imps of office boys, who, from a hundred windows began to unreel the spools of tape that record the messages of the ‘ticker.’ In a moment the air was white with curling streamers,” reported The New York Times. “This was altogether too much fun, and the office boys had to give way to their elders…Every window appeared to be a paper mill spouting out squirming lines of tape. Such was Wall-street’s novel celebration.”
The first sports heroes to be honored this way were Johnny “Tarzan” Weissmuller and the American Olympic team upon their return from the 1924 Paris Summer Olympics when they earned 45 gold medals. In the new millennium, Eli Manning and Co. seem to do it every few years. (We can only hope the Yankees follow suit this October!)
Now my roof explorer challenge is set before me. I must BE PREPARED and find a rooftop along the parade route from which I can watch the next float-full of New York City heroes be showered in shredded recycled paper and devoted adoration.
A possible snafu: At the Lower Manhattan.info site it says: “Buildings with scaffolds, sidewalk sheds, rooftops and setbacks fronting Broadway should ensure that no person is permitted on those structures during the parade.” Although a little thing like a city regulation is just an obstacle to go around, not an end-game, as proven by the three clever fans who were watching from the rooftop across from me. My roof explorer challenge has been set!