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Paper Parade Greets Champion Yankees

October 31, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ Thousands of fans lined the Canyon of Heroes for the Yankees’ third straight ticker-tape parade Monday as manager Joe Torre hailed his players as ``maybe the best team of all time.″

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani gave each Yankee a key to the city and gushed that: ``The relationship between the people of the city of New York and the New York Yankees is a love affair that goes back a very, very long time.″

``Has there ever been a team better than this one?″ Giuliani shouted. ``The best!″

Reams of shredded paper hurled from office windows created a virtual blizzard as parade-goers _ many of them skipping work or school _ helped the Yankees celebrate their fourth World Series championship in five years.

``We called the school from here and they know who the hooky mothers are,″ said Donna Toscano of Wyckoff, N.J., with her friend Lori Cooke and their four young children. ``It doesn’t matter because our principal is a Yankee fan.″

Police officials declined to estimate the size of the crowd, although a police spokeswoman said it was larger than in 1999 when former Police Commissioner Howard Safir put the total at 3.6 million.

Blustery winds and piles of paper created a scary scene toward the end of the parade when at least four fires erupted and quickly spread. Firefighters doused the flames, and there were no reports of injuries. Kathy Dawkins, a spokeswoman for the Department of Sanitation, said the cause was unknown but speculated the fires were accidental.

Police made four arrests during the parade: two for assault, one on a charge of rioting and another for trademark infringement.

A police officer on the mayor’s float was struck on the bridge of his nose by a flying phone book; he was not seriously hurt.

A police officer on the mayor’s float was struck on the bridge of his nose by a flying phone book; he was not seriously hurt.

The autumn chill did not deter the fans who started gathering hours before the parade’s noon kickoff.

``I got here at 6 a.m. and I’m not crazy,″ said Robert Schaeffer, of the Bronx. ``It’s a little cold but it’s worth it.″

Grand Marshal Yogi Berra waved from a 1952 Chrysler convertible while a grinning Giuliani joined Torre on the ``trophy float.″

The Yankees’ 4-1 victory over the Mets was the first Subway Series since 1956 and it gave the team its record 26th World Series title.

``The last Subway Series was the year I was born, so this is like history,″ said Judy Sabin of Woodbridge, N.J., with 8-year-old son Matt in tow.

Sabin had also brought a neighbor, 11-year-old Erica Santucci, who was among the legion of young, female fans of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

``I’m here for Derek,″ Erica said. ``I love Derek Jeter.″

At the City Hall ceremony that followed the parade, John Fogarty played his hit ``Centerfield″ on a bat-shaped guitar and Jeter wore sunglasses despite cloudy weather.

``You fans should enjoy watching this team because you’re not going to see many like it,″ the Series MVP said.

Torre told the 1,000 invited guests, ``We may not have had the best players, but there’s no question we’ve had the best team, and maybe the best team of all time. I have no embarrassment, no hesitation in saying that.″

Security was tight for the parade, with police barricades lining the streets even north of City Hall. Employees in the area had to show identification before police allowed them into their buildings.

But security could not protect the few brave Mets fans.

Brooklynite Julio Santiago claimed he wasn’t thinking about the parade when he put on his satin Mets jacket and headed into Manhattan. ``Oh man, even the cops are telling me to take this thing off,″ he said. ``I need some friends today.″

Giuliani stirred controversy last week by suggesting that the parade could be a learning experience for schoolchildren.

Margie Steinberg, a spokeswoman for the city Board of Education, said attendance was down from a normal day, especially among high school students. She said 71.2 of the high schoolers were in class Monday, compared with normal attendance of 80 percent.

Many of those cutting school were not from New York City.

A group of four 16-year-olds from Westbury, on Long Island, hooted and hollered about playing hooky to attend the parade.

``But Giuliani says it’s OK!″ Shakira Saunders said. ``I’ll write an essay.″

As in previous years, much of the mess caused by the parade was already cleaned up by the time the City Hall service was over. But even as the mounds of paper were disappearing from Broadway, streams of paper clung to flag polls and ledges high above and covered treetops along the road.

Besides the quantity of debris, the cleaning effort was further complicated by high winds, which helped spread the mess from the main parade route to surrounding side streets.

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