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‘Hometown Heroes’ parade recap: New York celebrates COVID-19 essential workers

(NEW YORK) — Confetti filled the streets of lower Manhattan on Wednesday as New Yorkers gathered for a ticker tape parade honoring the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Called the Hometown Heroes Parade, the event was held along the Canyon of Heroes, nearly 16 months after New York City became the nation’s first COVID-19 epicenter.

Here is how the news is developing. All times Eastern. Check back for updates.

Jul 07, 12:47 pm
Subway car from 1904 resurrected as parade float

Among the 14 floats is an old subway car from 1904 that was resurrected for MTA workers to ride in along the parade route.

Sarah Feinberg, interim president of New York City Transit, was overcome with emotion seeing how many people came to show their support.

“It’s just wonderful to see the city come out and thank our workforce,” she told ABC New York station WABC.

Jul 07, 11:50 am
Eric Adams joins parade festivities

Eric Adams, who was announced Tuesday as the winner of New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary, was among those joining parade festivities.

The former police captain declined to comment on the race to ABC New York station WABC, insisting the day was about essential workers.

“We need to honor them [essential workers] with pay equity … we need to show them the respect they deserve,” Adams said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is also at the party.

Jul 07, 11:35 am
Sounds of marching band, cheers echo through the streets

As the confetti falls, the sounds of marching bands and revelers are echoing through the streets. New Yorkers are standing on the sides of the parade route, cheering, ringing bells and holding “Thank you” signs while the floats and bands move through.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, New York City’s seven-day average positivity rate is now 0.96%. More than 605,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19.

Jul 07, 11:00 am
Ticker tape parade underway

The ticker tape parade along lower Manhattan’s Canyon of Heroes is underway.

The 14 parade floats represent 260 groups of essential workers, including first responders, small business employees, delivery workers and childcare employees.

MTA workers have resurrected an old subway car from 1904 as their float.

Queens nurse Sandra Lindsay, who was the first person in the U.S. to get the COVID-19 vaccine, is the parade’s Grand Marshal.

Jul 07, 8:49 am
Pittsburgh nurse who came to NYC for COVID returns to ride on float

Justin Davis, a traveling nurse with AMN Healthcare, left his wife and three children behind in Pittsburgh to care for COVID-19 patients in an overwhelmed Manhattan hospital when the pandemic began.

“Never seen anything like it,” said Davis, who trained as an Army field medic and has been a nurse for 17 years. “I had more bodies, not enough people to take care. There were unqualified people there because there was nobody else.”

When New York’s crisis subsided, he moved to COVID hot spots in Orlando and Buffalo.

He will ride atop one of 14 floats that will make its way through the shower of confetti on Wednesday.

Davis told ABC News the parade is also a way to put his pandemic work behind him.

“I’ll accept the thanks,” he said.

Jul 07, 7:53 am
Ceremony scaled back due to heat

The City Hall ceremony at the end of the parade will be “a much smaller, stripped down version” than originally planned due to the heat, Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday.

“We will be greeting the marchers at the end of the parade and thanking them,” de Blasio said. “Not a big ceremony, but the parade itself of course will be the central salute to our heroes.”

“We will be adding additional cooling centers and water stations along the route,” the mayor added.

Jul 07, 7:24 am
New York to hold first ticker tape parade in two years

Ticker tape parades along the Canyon of Heroes are a historical part of New York City. These parades have honored people from Amelia Earhart in 1932 to Winston Churchill in 1946. The most recent ticker tape parade was in 2019 for the U.S. women’s national soccer team after they won the World Cup.

“Ticker tape parades up the Canyon of Heroes, they’ve happened for generations,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said last month. “But this one will have a special spirit to it, a special heart and soul, because it’s about celebrating everyday New Yorkers who did something heroic and need our thanks.”

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