By Mary Cunningham
South Jersey girl Carli Lloyd and her USA World Cup teammates, meet the Canyon of Heroes!
New York City will hold a ticker-tape parade Friday for the United States women’s national soccer team, breaking with decades of precedent to bestow a rare honor upon a group that competes outside the metropolitan area.
Two days after the team’s World Cup triumph, the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday that the players would be saluted along the Canyon of Heroes in Lower Manhattan at 11 a.m. Since Monday, lawmakers had noted that a parade would be a landmark city honor for a women’s team.
“The people have spoken,” the mayor’s wife, Chirlane McCray, wrote on Twitter, “and they want a ticker-tape parade.”
The Manhattan borough president, Gale A. Brewer, who led the push for a parade with a letter to Mr. de Blasio on Monday and an online petition, was less subdued.
“GOOOOOAAAAAL!” she wrote on Twitter.
Because of the sizable expense — the administration estimated a cost of $1.5 million to the city, excluding $450,000 from private sponsors — and traffic issues, the city has for years shunned ticker-tape parades for athletes who do not call New York home. The city last honored a group of national athletes in 1984, when Olympic medal winners were feted after the Los Angeles games.
And across the Hudson River, leaders from New Jersey, including Gov. Chris Christie, have moved quickly to note the state’s contributions to the World Cup feat. Lloyd, whose three goals on Sunday fueled the victory, is among the team’s New Jersey natives.
“New Jersey has already claimed credit for this victory,” said Kathryn S. Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, a coalition of business leaders. “We’ll try to celebrate anyway.”
Since 1999, such parades have been held only for the Yankees and the Giants. The most recent nonsports parade was held a year earlier, tocongratulate Senator John Glenn and his crew members from thebspace shuttle Discovery. It drew an estimated crowd of 500,000; a ticker-tape parade held the previous month for the Yankees drew an estimated 3.5 million people.
According to the Downtown Alliance, which oversees the business improvement district in Lower Manhattan, 130 of the city’s 205 ticker-tape parades occurred from 1945 to 1965. They included parades for national political figures (Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower) and foreign ones (Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands).
Other honorees have been Nelson Mandela, the crew from a nuclear submarine, Little League champions from Staten Island, Theodore Roosevelt upon his return from an African safari and the emperor of Ethiopia, twice.
The first parade, in 1886, was for the dedication of the Statue of Liberty.