Ah, the ticker-tape parade.
A celebration of heroes. A welcome home for champions. An outpouring of joy.
And since the late ’60s, a ticker-tapeless affair.
As the NFL champion New York Giants parade Broadway’s Canyon of Heroes today in the 200th-or-so “ticker-tape parade,” let’s take a moment to consider just what is floating down from buildings above.
The tradition of showering such parades with confetti began in 1866, The Star-Ledger reports, at the celebration of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty. It was “imps of office boys” who apparently got the idea, says The New York Times, that it would be wonderful to “unreel the spools of tape that record the fateful messages of the ‘ticker.’ In a moment the air was white with curling streamers.”
Of course, by the end of the ’60s the ticker was going the way of the buggy whip. So since then, it’s been other kinds of paper that have been flittering down from above.
According to our friends at WNYC, much of it today was “recycled unprinted newspaper” donated by Atlas Materials and Packaging in Red Hook, N.J., “which often uses the paper for pet bedding.”
The New Yorker adds that the city’s Downtown Alliance, “makes deliveries of paper shreddings to lower Broadway, in lieu of ticker tape, which has been obsolete since the sixties.”
By the time the Giants’ parade is over, there could be about 50 tons of paper on the streets, says a Times Q&A from 2008 (the last time the Giants were so honored).
And it’s going to take “about 300 sanitation workers and Alliance workers in total” to clean up after, says WNYC. This being the New York of green-minded Mayor Michael Bloomberg, of course, the plan is to again recycle.
But as we say above, it’s still a “ticker-tape parade.” And that’s a title everyone seems to like.