New York City held a ticker-tape parade Wednesday to say thank you to the essential workers who helped the city through the. The Hometown Heroes Parade kicked off at 11 a.m. along a stretch of downtown Manhattan known as the Canyon of Heroes, which has hosted parades for over a century.
A total of 2,500 people were expected to take part, including 13 marching bands, CBS New York reported.
, a Queens nurse who made history as the first person in the U.S. to get a COVID vaccine, was leading the parade as grand marshal.
"I am so grateful. It feels like we're getting a big hug all over again from the entire city," she said.
Along the Canyon of Heroes, the city has honored athletes, astronauts, military members and foreign leaders. On Wednesday, the city added essential workers to that list, like the director of the Cardiac ICU at Mount Sinai.
"A year of great darkness and a year of hope," said Dr. Umesh Gidwani. "The development of the vaccine, the development of monoclonal antibodies."
Employees at Bond Parade Floats in Clifton, New Jersey carefully assembled the 14 platforms that carried the frontline workers along the route. The company has played a part in 13 ticker-tape parades, and this one had extra meaning.
"These are real life heroes who save lives, put their lives on the line," Robert DeVito said.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio canceled a ceremony at City Hall Plaza to keep New Yorkers safe from high temperatures hitting the city this week. On Wednesday, he rode a float with healthcare workers.
Child care, transportation, food and utility workers, among others, also joined — each critical in leading the city through the COVID-19 crisis.
"You need electricity to keep the ventilators running in the hospital, to keep the lights on in homes and businesses," said Maureen Kreider, of Con Edison. "Our workers were behind this effort, and I'm so proud to be a part of them."
New York City suffered a devastating COVID-19 wave in early to mid-2020, around the time the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic.