NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City will throw the "biggest, best" ticker-tape parade for its health care workers and first responders once the city reopens from the coronavirus pandemic, the mayor announced Tuesday.
"We will honor those who saved us," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "The first thing we will do, before we think about anything else, is we will take a time, as only New York City can do, to throw the biggest, best parade to honor these heroes.
"This parade will mark the beginning of our renaissance," he added. "But it will also be, most importantly, a chance to say thank you to so many good and noble people, so many tough, strong people."
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De Blasio also said the city will assemble its own strategic reserve of medical supplies.
"We have learned the hard way that we cannot depend on the federal government in the future. I hate saying that, but it's quite evident we certainly cannot depend on the global market," he said. "We can't depend on our nation to produce products that tragically are not being produced enough in this nation, as we've seen in hour of need.
"I hope that will change. I hope our country gets the message that we have to start producing these things all over the country again and be self-sufficient as a nation," he continued. "But until that day comes, New York City, we will protect ourselves."
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The mayor said the reserve will include locally made ventilators, face shields, surgical gowns. and test kits.
"This means that we have a ready reserve in the event that this crisis continues or, God forbid, this disease becomes stronger," he said. "It means we're in a position to protect ourselves and to help others who may need our help."
Companies like Boyce Technologies in Long Island City built electronics for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Now it is building state-of-the-art ventilators, and in a matter of weeks created ventilators so the city won't have to put the lives of residents in someone else's hands, CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported.
The city spent $10 million on 3,000 so-called "bridge" ventilators earlier this month, when equipment was running dangerously low.
"Nothing like this was being made in New York City just two months ago, even one month ago," said de Blasio. "But extraordinary entrepreneurs came together for the good of all New Yorkers and said, 'We can do it. We can do something. Whether it seems possible or not, we're going to find a way.'"
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Businesses like Open Jar Studios has also been transformed.
Now, 50,000 square feet that once served as practice space for Broadway shows is now a factory of sorts for surgical gowns made by hundreds of costume seamstresses across the city who would otherwise be out of work, Cline-Thomas reported.
"I have two brothers in the medical field. Knowing that they're there desperate for these materials and not thinking that I had anything that I could do to help, and suddenly as this came together it was wonderful to know that we have something collectively we can offer to help them," Open Jar Studios president Jeff Whiting said.
CBS2's political reporter Marcia Kramer asked the mayor what he would say if he were in the room.
"I would say, 'Mr. President, there's only been two things you needed to do this whole time. One, get the testing to New York City and all the places in America that needed it," he replied. "And two, help us through this horrible challenge by providing us the aid we need to get back on our feet - the cities and states that have borne the brunt that are going through this health care crisis, this economic crisis and aren't going to be able to pay the bills, aren't going to be able to provide basic services - help us as only the federal government can do."
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