When New York City celebrated the dedication of the Statue of Liberty in 1886, former New York governor and then-president Grover Cleveland venerated the occasion with a huge parade in celebration of what was quickly becoming a symbol of the nation’s spirit and integrity. As the marching bands and floats passed the stock market buildings on Wall Street, workers in the buildings threw their ticker-tape, which was an early way to transmit stock market prices and information, out of their windows in spur-of-the-moment show of jubilation. As the streams of thin lines of paper fell onto the city streets, a tradition was born.
On July 7, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion U.S. Women’s National Team would be the first all-women team to receive such an honor.
New York City, like most big cities, has many parades annually. However the ticker-tape celebration has historically been one of great prestige and stature, and has been reserved to honor kings and queens, Nobel laureates, war heroes, and the like.
As the decades passed, sports teams began to be honored with these kinds of events as well. Since U.S. Senator and famed astronaut John Glenn’s ticker-tape parade in 1999, the only other recipients of this special parade have been two New York sports teams: the MLB’s New York Yankees and the NFL’s New York Giants. That Jill Ellis’ intrepid group of triumphant women has been granted this distinction in light of their World Cup success is a wonderful recognition of their status as national heroes.
Other women have received ticker-tape parades in the past, such as Olympic medal winners (both men and women were honored). Amelia Earhart received the honor twice, and Gertrude Ederle received the commendation after being the first woman to swim across the English Channel. The most recent woman to receive the honor (without any man present to receive it alongside her) was Carol Heiss in 1960, after winning an Olympic gold medal in figure skating.
These ticker-tape parades generally follow a certain path, partying their way down Broadway and through the financial district, through what is commonly referred to as “The Canyon of Heroes.” Though originally office workers in the buildings above would use their supplies of ticker-tape to rain down upon those being celebrated, these days people usually throw confetti and shreds of paper. However, the joyous spirit of this celebration remains.
After the team’s victory over Japan in the final of this year’s World Cup set record numbers in viewership and became the most watched soccer game in U.S. history, it is no surprise that the USWNT is being honored in such a way.
The NYC ticker-tape parade honoring World Cup Champs is set to take place on Friday, July 10.