Giants lauded as Super Bowl champs in NYC parade

Thousands of fans roared as New York Giants quarterback Eli

Manning hoisted the team’s Super Bowl trophy from a glittering

blue-and-white float Tuesday during a victory parade through New

York City, which Mayor Michael Bloomberg quipped should now be

nicknamed the ”Big Blue Apple.”

The parade set off from the southern tip of Manhattan and moved

slowly north to City Hall as fans stood dressed head to toe in

Giants gear and confetti wafted slowly down from the high-rises

that line the street.

The MVP Manning, joined by coach Tom Coughlin, Bloomberg, Gov.

Andrew Cuomo and other teammates, waved and grinned from the float

as a deep roar rose from the crowds.

Defensive end Justin Tuck, who led the team’s defense and sacked

rival quarterback Tom Brady twice during the 21-17 victory over the

New England Patriots, said he was glad to be part of the team.

”We made it here by believing in each other. We believe in

every guy on this team,” he said. ”Honestly, we wouldn’t be here

today without your support.”

The team was introduced at a City Hall Plaza ceremony with

thunderous applause from the thousands of fans outside. A lucky 250

fans received tickets to the fete, where the Giants were honored

with symbolic keys to the city.

The crowd went wild for running back Ahmed Bradshaw, who plopped

down in the end zone to score the winning touchdown. Wide receiver

Victor Cruz did his trademark salsa moves as he accepted his


Manning joked about the team’s record of fourth-quarter

comebacks. ”Make it tough but make it possible,” he said,

laughing about how the team blew an early lead to come back and

win. The Giants had eight fourth-quarter comebacks to win games

during the season.

”Finish games, finish fourth quarters and finish the season

strong. That’s what we did,” Manning said.

Coughlin said the Giants were successful because they never gave


”The key thing was to remember this: All things are possible

for those who believe,” Coughlin said. ”We always believed.”

Some fans had 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.

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 Manning’s

stellar performance and the hold-your-breath catch by Mario

Manningham that led to the game-winning drive.

Frank Capogrosso, 11, from Staten Island, leaned against a

barricade at the beginning of the parade route with his dad and

best friend.

”This is better than TV. I love the cop cars, the toilet paper

and the ecstatic fans,” he said. ”I love the Giants. I love their

style. They play, they don’t talk.”

The parade for the Super Bowl champions could bring the city as

much as $38 million, depending on the number of spectators,

Bloomberg said. As many as 1 million people were expected – about a

third of them from outside New York.

After the parade, the team traveled to New Jersey for an

afternoon rally at their home turf, MetLife Stadium. Tens of

thousands of fans roared as the team walked onto the field in East

Rutherford, making it feel like a regular Sunday game for Big


It’s the second Super Bowl championship parade for the Giants in

four years. They beat the Patriots in the NFL title game in


Bloomberg asked the crowd: ”Are you feeling deja blue all over

again?” referring to the team’s 2008 win. Fans cheered.

Workers in high-rises tossed confetti – and later entire pieces

of papers – from their windows.

Jun Kim, 28, a Korean linguist at the law firm Kenyon &

Kenyon, reserved his biggest batch for Manning. ”You are a star!”

he yelled as the quarterback passed by. ”People thought he would

crumble under pressure, but he didn’t. He’s the best.”

Just moments after the parade passed by, a lineup of sanitation

plows scraped their way up Broadway, pushing mounds of confetti –

some as high as 5 feet.

As the parade ended around noon, fans stood on sidewalks ankle

deep in the paper that was later sucked up by sanitation workers

armed with hand-held vacuums.

Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said he expected about 40

tons of paper to be thrown. 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 actual ticker tape from those days has been replaced by

recycled paper that’s shredded into confetti. About 34 tons of

paper were cleaned up after the Giants’ 2008 parade.

Mindy Forman, 53, of Yorktown, was one of the lucky few who

scored a ticket to the festivities at City Hall. She said the win

was a much-needed victory at a time when many could use some

cheering up. She counted herself among that group: She was laid off

two weeks ago from her job as a college administrator.

”It celebrates New York,” she said. ”It celebrates the city.

It celebrates the state. And it gives people something to believe

in in very hard times.”

New York has feted its public heroes since 1919, with the first

parade for World War I General John Pershing and his victorious


They were followed by more than 200 parades honoring such people

as aviator Charles Lindbergh, scientist Albert Einstein, Pope John

Paul, South African leader Nelson Mandela and pianist Van Cliburn.

Their names are chiseled into the Broadway sidewalks.

Associated Press writer Samantha Gross in New York and David

Porter in East Rutherford, N.J., contributed to this report. Gross

can be reached at .