The New York Giants touched down in Newark International Airport Monday evening victorious after an historic upset over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, as city officials and fans prepared to greet them with a hero's welcome.
Big Blue is the world champion after pulling off one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history, a last-minute 17-14 win Sunday night that ended New England's quest for a perfect season.
City Hall worked Monday on the final preparations for a ticker tape parade in Big Blue's honor which will be held Tuesday. The event will kick off on Broadway at Battery Place at 11 a.m. and will end with a ceremony at City Hall Plaza, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg will give the Giants a key to the city.
The last time the city had this kind of celebration was in 2000, when the Yankees took their ride up the Canyon of Heroes after winning the World Series. Bloomberg says this is a moment New Yorkers should embrace.
"I don't think anything is going to dampen our enthusiasm or our gratitude to the Giants for taking us on this amazing ride," he said.
New Yorkers say they are excited to welcome the G-Men home.
"I haven't been to a parade since 1994 when the [New York] Rangers won the cup, so seeing the Giants win last night is incredible," said one sports fan.
"Makes you forget your everyday problems and brings people together, sort of melds them together, people of all walks of life to watch something like this," said another.
"I'm going to just come over, take my lunch break, take an extended lunch, and we're gonna have fun and celebrate for New York," said a third.
Businesses along the parade route are invited to call 311 to receive confetti. Fifty tons of confetti are expected to pour over the Canyon of Heroes, which means the Sanitation Department will have to spend some extra money to clean it all up.
The mayor says the parade will be a celebration for all New Yorkers, but urged the city's students and adults to keep their priorities straight.
"There will be this parade, we are getting high school bands, schools will not be closed, sorry," he said. "Education is more important, let's get serious here. It is an Election Day, that is more important. I can't urge everybody enough to vote."
Transit officials are advising those headed to the parade to avoid the 4, 5, and 6 subway lines, which will be crowded with commuters during the normally tight morning rush.
The agency is instead recommending fans take the 1, R or W lines to Rector Street, the E to World Trade Center, or the 2, 3 to the Chambers or Wall Street stop.
Straphangers can also take the A, C to Chambers Street or the J to the Broad Street station.
The MTA is also warning that overcrowding around the City Hall, Park Place, or Brooklyn Bridge train stops may force trains to bypass those stations.
Both the PATH and Long Island Rail Road are increasing service for the parade.
Capitol Hill is also talking about the big upset in Arizona.
Senator Charles Schumer praised the Giants on the Senate floor Monday.
He spoke for nearly six minutes about the team and offered a resolution recognizing Big Blue's victory. The resolution was co-sponsored by Senator Hillary Clinton and New Jersey Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez.
Schumer said he had to talk about his team before getting down to business because this win holds special meaning for the fans.
"The Giants have won Super Bowl's before, but this victory, coming from behind and defying the odds, make this win -- to Giants fans -- the sweetest of all," said Schumer.
Meanwhile, elated Giants fans were out early Monday morning buying shirts, caps and anything else they could find with the "Super Bowl Champion" logo on it.
The line snaked around Modell’s on 42nd Street Monday morning, all the way to the back of the store. Some fans waited more than an hour for the truck to deliver the hats that read "Super Bowl XLII Champions."
One woman even came from New England, where she figured there was a good chance she wasn't going to find any Giants merchandise whatsoever.
“I just got off the bus from Martha’s Vineyard to come to get this hat and I'm getting on the [return] bus in 30 minutes. I am the true New York Giants fan," said the woman.
"I got all the way up to Fifth Avenue and I'm like, you know what, let me go back and get the shirts now because they're not going to be here later," said one fan. "So I came back and now I'm heading to the gym and I'm going to work out in my new Giants t-shirt."
“All is right with the world. I have the hat,” said another Giants fan. “Go Giants!"
Giants fan Andrew Rabinowitz was in Arizona Sunday night for the Super Bowl, then took the red eye back and was at Modell’s in shorts at 7 a.m. Monday morning, buying all things Giants before heading to work.
"Outside of my wedding day and my kids being born, greatest feeling in the world,” said Rabinowitz.
The owner of Modell's Sporting Goods says there was an elaborate contingency plan to produce Giants victory merchandise immediately after a win, involving every logo printer they could make a deal with.
Mitch Modell says the NFL has to approve the more creative logos, like the ones that take a swipe at the Patriots, but as the trucks arrived new merchandise was sold right away.
"We are rocking and rolling. We got trucks, we got hats, we got t-shirts," said Mitchell Modell of Modell's Sporting Goods. "I mean, we have 85 vans. One van is assigned to every store. We have like 10 depots, where we're just going from store to store to make sure we're in stock. We'll be getting in new merchandise throughout the day, tomorrow."
Mike Montana was the first customer at the Modell’s on Broadway and 33rd Street Monday. He got there around 5:30 a.m. to make sure he got what he wanted.
"Buying a bunch of shirts, a couple of sweatshirts, getting ready for the parade tomorrow,” said Montana.
Other fans were just happy to be in an environment where they could prolong the feeling of Sunday night's big win.
"It was amazing. We are from Virginia and we are always surrounded by Redskins fans, so now we get to be with true Giants fans,” said one shopper.
“That game was simply marvelous. Couldn't believe the plays they had,” added another.
“My blood is blue,” added a third.
Playing against one of the best offenses in the history of the league, the Giants took the lead early in the fourth quarter when Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning hit David Tyree with a five-yard touchdown pass — Tyree's first touchdown of the season.
The Patriots answered back as Tom Brady led his team down the field and threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss with just 2 minutes and 42 seconds left in the game to give the Pats a 14-10 lead.
Then came the play of the year. On third and five, the Patriots appeared to have Manning sacked, but he somehow eluded the rush and threw downfield to Tyree who made a spectacular leaping grab — a 32-yard gain that got the ball down to New England's 24-yard line.
A few plays later, Manning hit Plaxico Burress from 13 yards out for the game-winning touchdown. With 39 seconds remaining, the Giants won 17-14.
Manning says said the final drive put him and his team exactly where they wanted to be.
"You kind of like being down four, where you go in, you know you have to score to win the game,” said Manning. “In the Super Bowl, you can't write a better script, and to go and do it, it’s just an unbelievable feeling."
The Giants' win ended New England's chances of becoming the first NFL team to go undefeated since the Miami Dolphins in 1972.
The win sent crowds in New York into a frenzy, as they celebrated Big Blue's first Super Bowl championship in 17 years.
The parties spilled out into the streets and literally stopped traffic. Second Avenue was transformed into a huge street party as thousands hooted and hollered over the Giants' big upset.
Programming Note: Pat Kiernan will be there tomorrow to lead NY1’s live coverage, starting at 11 a.m.
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