NEW YORK — The New York Giants are returning from their Super Bowl win to a celebration the likes that only New York can throw: a ticker-tape parade in the Canyon of Heroes on Broadway, where the city has honored stars for almost a century.
Members of the Giants will be showered with a mile of confetti as they travel up Broadway from Battery Place. Then, in a ceremony at City Hall Plaza, the team will be presented with symbolic keys to the city.
Thousands of fans poured out of the subways and headed to the streets, dressed in head-to-toe Giants jerseys, hats and sweats. Some waited since 6 a.m. to catch a glimpse of their favorite players. About half of a Long Island high school class skipped school to see "a whole nation coming together in one place — this parade," said Mike King, 16, of Wantagh, N.Y.
King and seven school friends got up at dawn, arriving by subway in lower Manhattan to join the crowds packed behind police barricades lining Broadway. He attributed the win to the stellar performance of quarterback Eli Manning and the hold-your-breath catch by Mario Manningham that led to the game-winning drive.
"It was one small step for the Giants, and one giant leap for the fans and the nation," King said.
Frank Capogrosso, 11, from Staten Island, with friends, standing at this beginning of parade route, leaning against the barricade with a grin on his face.
"This is better than TV. I love the cop cars, the toilet paper, and the ecstatic fans." He added: I'm ecstatic. I love the Giants, I love their style: They play, they don't talk."
The parade for the Super Bowl champions will have an estimated economic impact of up to $38 million for the city, depending on the number of spectators, Bloomberg said. As many as 1 million are expected — about a third of them from outside New York.
After the parade, the team will travel to New Jersey for a 3 p.m. rally at MetLife Stadium.
This will be the second Super Bowl championship parade for the Giants in four years. They also beat the Patriots in the NFL title game in 2008.
But it's hard to imagine a victory more exciting than the Giants' last-minute, 21-17 victory over the Patriots. The hero of this year's parade undoubtedly will be Super Bowl MVP Manning. Manning and Manningham connected on the clutch play, as the receiver made the over-the-shoulder catch along the sideline.
Even before the parade started, city Sanitation crews with hand-held vacuums were ready to suck up the piles of confetti that would rain on Broadway.
New York City Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said he expected to see about 40 tons of paper showered down. That's a lot but not one for the record books. The city threw 5,438 tons of ticker tape on returning veterans at the end of World War II in 1945.
The second-highest amount of paper was thrown to honor astronaut John Glenn in 1962 — 3,474 tons. The actual ticker tape from those days has been replaced by recycled paper that's shredded into confetti.
Sanitation spokeswoman Kathy Dawkins says the department picked up 34.2 tons of paper after the Giants' last parade in 2008.
The streets Tuesday were a mass of metal police barricades, and security was tight with helicopters flying overhead and police command centers parked nearby.
The parade ends at City Hall. On Monday, 250 fans nabbed pairs of tickets to the festivities at City Hall. About 50,000 people entered sweepstakes for a place at the ceremony. Three large screens around City Hall will allow members of the public to watch the ceremony. Streets will be closed between Broadway and Church Street from Canal to Pearl streets, as will Brooklyn Bridge access to and from Park Row.
New York has feted its public heroes since 1919, with the first parade for World War I General John Pershing and his victorious troops.
They were followed by more than 200 parades honoring everyone from aviator Charles Lindbergh to scientist Albert Einstein, Pope John Paul, South African leader Nelson Mandela and pianist Van Cliburn. Their names are chiseled into the Broadway sidewalks.