NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With the Vince Lombardi Trophy held high, Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning passed by thousands of cheering Giants fans eager to get a glimpse of a piece of sports history.
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“It’s crazy, I lost my voice. I love my Giants, baby!” said Matt Ryan of North Arlington, N.J.
“It’s unbelievable. To win a world championship in New York City, the greatest city in the world, with the world’s greatest fans, is unbelievable,” punter Steve Weatherford told CBS 2’s Don Dahler.
For some of the players, it was a repeat of the ticker-tape parade of that championship year, 2008. For most, it was an experience they have never come close to feeling and one they will never forget.
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Manning was joined on his float by coach Tom Coughlin, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Giants chief executive John Mara and Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, among others.
Players boarded their floats at Battery Place and Washington Street. They then headed up the Canyon of Heroes on Broadway, east on Worth Street and then south to Lafayette before ending on Duane Street.
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Fans dressed in head-to-toe Giants gear started lining the streets as early as 6 a.m. for Tuesday’s parade in lower Manhattan, which kicked off at 11 a.m.
One group of fans at the corner of Battery Place and Broadway woke up early to snag the perfect spot along the Giants championship parade route.
“We got up at 3 a.m.,” said Jimmy Caruso from Staten Island. “Got dressed and hopped on a ferry.”
“Just them winning is really cool, but to actually get to see this up close, it’s very exciting,” Giants fan Andrew Messite added.
Alexandra Rudnicki, a 92-year-old, die-hard New York sports fan, refused to miss the celebration. She had her daughter leave her South Jersey home in the middle of the night so she could get picked up and secure some prime spots along the parade route.
“I wanted to see the greatest fellas in the world. They deserve everything they got here today,” Rudnicki told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider.
And is wasn’t just about the fans. The players soaked up every minute of their victory march, many of them filming the parade from their floats as they drove by.
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“Thanks to the millions that came today. An unreal experience. Unbelievable,” tweeted Justin Trattou.
“I’m just happy to be a New Yorker right now baby,” safety Antrel Rolle told WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts. “That’s what it’s about.”
“Parade is crazy #WORLDCHAMPS,” tweeted Terrell Thomas from the parade route.
The parade was followed by a ceremony at City Hall, where the Giants received a key to the city.
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The Sanitation Department said crews picked up 34.2 tons of paper after the Giants’ 2008 parade. Street sweepers were out in full force as soon as fans left. The department brought in more than 300 workers, 30 mechanical sweepers, 14 collection trucks and 129 leaf blowers to clear the streets.
The floats in Tuesday’s parade were made by Bond Parade Floats in Clifton, N.J., the same company that built the floats for the team four years ago.
The city estimated that the ticker-tape parade and celebration brought between $20 million and $38 million to city businesses and that the average parade-goer spent $23.
The Giants also celebrated their win with a rally at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey after the parade and City Hall ceremony. An estimated 35,000 to 40,000 fans came out for that event.
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