NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Wednesday’s Hometown Heroes ticker tape parade featured the transit workers who helped get people around the city through COVID.

CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis hopped on board an antique train car to join them on the parade route.

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“MTA, going your way!” the workers on the float chanted.

It was all smiles aboard the MTA float from the essential workers who carried the city through the pandemic, like Kenneth Mendez, who worked to make sure the subways were clean and safe.

“It’s a great honor. You see all the people that turned outand all the workers that are here, you know. We’re all very appreciative and loving New York,” Mendez said.

It was the love of the city and family that fueled the father of four to show up to work every single day through the unknown, along with MTA bus driver Louis Jimenez. It was an emotional moment for the transit worker of 22 years, seeing his family honoring him along the parade route.

“I do it for them. I do it for them, and that’s why I would do it all over again,” Jimenez said.

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“You know, they showed up day in and day out, carried essential workers, carried the city on their back for 18 months and I’m so grateful,” said Sarah Feinberg, interim president of MTA NYC Transit.

Carrying the transportation workers through the Hometown Heroes ticker tape parade was a 118-year-old antique train car, the oldest in the New York Transit Museum’s collection.

“And it’s very fitting because this subway car was in use during both World Wars and actually the first global pandemic in the early 1900s,” said Concetta Bencivenga, director of the New York Transit Museum.

“Bringing it out of retirement for this parade, what does that mean?” DeAngelis asked.

“There’s really no better purpose than to celebrate our colleagues at transit, the entire MTA, who really showed up through the entire pandemic, day in and day out, kept the city moving, allowed the doctors and nurses to get to the hospitals to take care of folks during this pandemic,” Bencivenga said.

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The essential workers on the float are among the many that kept the city strong through the pandemic and for that, we say a heartfelt thank you.

Jenna DeAngelis