I have to admit, much to Norngirls annoyance sometimes, I do like to wing it. Norngirl was going on a shopping/food spree and had meticulously planned her day alone for weeks before.
To be honest, I'd only ever planned to maybe think about planning it some more and yeah, I never quite got around to doing that planning - so all that I had decided for the day was that I wanted to go to a beach at some point. I was at the mercy of New York and whatever it wanted to show me.
It turns out that not planning is sometimes the best plan, for this morning was the morning of the 7th February 2012 and as luck would have it, this was the day the Vince Lombardi Trophy was coming to town with a million happy American Football fans. As I mentioned in my Monuments and Memorials at Night post, the New York Giants had just won the Super Bowl - the Champions League final of American Football and I happened to have nothing to do... the
Before I gate crashed my first ticker tape parade, I had to get there. With plenty of time to spare, I decided to see a bit more of this bustling city and went for a walk... a 3 and 1/2 mile walk. Along the way I found out the gutting reality that the deli that served the best BLT sandwich I'd ever eaten had become some chain restaurant. I was displeased.
It's hard to feel disheartened for long in a city like New York though. Every street has the possibility to spring a surprise so I kept walking and before long I found myself at Washington Square with a mini-Arc de Triomphe.
I kept walking and the number of people wearing Giants shirts increased. Before I knew it I was in a sea of American Football fans being directed by police to walk down a street that led to Thomas Paine Park.
And that's where I stood for the next couple of hours with an ever increasingly excited crowd. It was all in good spirit though, the nutters climbing up the trees and being shouted at by the police were maybe taking things a bit far.
Though this guy needs an award for finding what must have been the most uncomfortable spot.
There were also some people were dressed up more for the occasion than others.
Not as far as the guy who decided to climb up to the window of the 1st floor of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation building and promptly fell the moment the people in the room opened the window. That got a big 'Oooooooo' followed by laughter. Some folks were determined to get a good view of the rest of us ants, going as far as perching precariously on the roof of their building.
Also out of the windows, some people threw their toilet roll, ran out then took to throwing kitchen roll... it didn't work so well and a short time before the real parade began, we had a parade of street cleaning vehicles clearing a path.
The fans around me were eager to see their heroes and eventually, in a very sporadic manner they came past us to the delight of the crowd and the people in the surrounding buildings.
Once the parade floats and trucks had passed us, people began to dissipate into the rest of the city. Overhearing conversations, some were heading to New Jersey to the stadium for more celebrations, others heading home or to a bar. Who was working that day?
Me, well I was heading to the beach, more on that in my next post but before I could get the subway there, I needed to find my way back. Easier said then done with literally a million people trying to vacate a small area of an densely populated island. I thought it best to just take in the atmosphere a bit to let things quieten down.
I've never seen this sort of thing on this scale. Sadly, Leeds haven't had any such success whilst I've been old enough to attend such events and Crusaders have had success but in a city something like 20 times smaller than New York and as one of 6 or more sides in the area, our fan base isn't quite a million strong for a weekday parade.
This parade was quite a sight in terms of people on the streets, the actual parade of a few bands and a few trucks was quite low key in comparison but I really got the feeling of what a proud and passionate bunch of supporters the New York Giants have.
Eventually, after following the path of least resistance (I was now totalling 5 miles walked for the day according to my route on Google Earth) I found my way to a subway station somewhere on 6th Avenue for a ride to Coney Island.