Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The World Series Parade Experience

I took off from work on Friday to attend the Yankees World Series parade.  Yes, I know that makes some of you want to vomit, but it was an interesting experience.  For the rest of this post, I encourage you to replace the word "Yankees" with your favorite team... even if it's the Nationals.

I went to the NY Giants parade after they won Super Bowl XLII, but this was so much more crowded.  I left my parents' house in Westchester County at about 7:00 a.m., thinking there wouldn't be a problem getting to the parade in time for its 11:00 a.m. start.  I took Metro North and the subway to get down to city hall, which wasn't too bad, in terms of crowds.  It was rush hour and aside from people wearing Yankee jerseys, it couldn't have been much worse than usual.  I walked out of the subway station at about 9:00 a.m., two hours before the parade start time.  It was a madhouse.  Walking along Broadway (where the parade was to come through) wasn't even possible, so I went on Church Street and figured I would walk down a side street.  The first several streets was blocked off by the NYPD, as crowds had already reached capacity down those streets.

I made it to Fulton Street where crowds were already about 20 people deep from Broadway.  As the clock inched closer to parade time, the crowds swelled and everyone got stuck in place.  Literally.  I couldn't raise my hands, people were so close.  Every so often a group of people near Broadway would decide they've had enough and would try to leave the area by going back the way they came... through the mob.  Imagine how well that worked.  At this point it was really walking through someone as opposed to walking by someone.  Each time someone would leave their spot to abandon watching the parade, it would get incredibly uncomfortable as people would stop in awkward places, trying to create room where there wasn't any.  After deserters would get through, the rest of the mob would push up, trying to get closer to Broadway. 

Maybe crowds were 20 deep when I got to where I thought my spot would be on Fulton Street, but by the time the parade was starting, the crowd down the street was probably near 50 deep.  I think I ended up around 10 people deep, off the street.  I had never experienced such a crowded spot in my life.  I don't think crowded does the situation justice.  People were packed together so tightly that someone always had their back on my chest, their arms on my arms.  I eventually got my arm up to get some pictures as the Yankee players came by on float.

Some of the Yankee legends, like Yogi Berra and Reggie Jackson ( I guess you can't replace "Yankees" with "Nationals" here, huh?) came by in classic cars, but they were so low on the street that I never saw them.  The players were up higher and visible to most everyone and got huge cheers, the way champions should be greeted.  There were huge gaps on the parade, as 10 minutes would go by before I would see another float of players after one had gone by.  The floats also drove by us pretty quickly and I only got a glimpse of the World Series trophy. 

Regardless of the discomfort of the crowd, it was still an awesome experience seeing the happy players get treated like royalty.  Why not shower multi-millionaires with shredded paper?  This type of exuberance in New York City is only seen when a team wins a championship and it was thrilling to be a part of.    

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