By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com
At last, the thousands of everyday heroes who kept us alive and our lives as normal as possible during a deadly pandemic, got their due: the honor of a Ticker Tape parade through Lower Manhattan’s iconic Canyon of Heroes, to the cheers of a grateful city.
Sandra Lindsay, director of Nursing Critical Care at Northwell Health in Lake Success, Long Island, and the first person in the United States to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, was the grand marshal, leading the parade in an open classic car © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Essential workers – nurses, doctors, first responders, teachers, bus drivers, sanitation workers, food service delivery people rode floats and marched through the canyon of tall buildings and flowing confetti. The day marked the 125th anniversary of the New York City tradition, typically held for astronauts, soldiers and championship sports teams. The last parade was held to honor the 2019 World Cup win of the US women’s soccer team.
And that’s the level of celebrity – and appreciation – that was bestowed on these essential workers.
Sandra Lindsay, director of Nursing Critical Care at Northwell Health in Lake Success, Long Island, and the first person in the United States to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, was the grand marshal, leading the parade in an open classic car.
“It is truly an honor and privilege to serve as the grand marshal in the Hometown Heroes ticker tape parade and represent all health care and essential workers whose heroic efforts saved lives during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lindsay, who inspired both her health worker colleagues at the height of unimaginable stress and challenge and inspired the nation to get vaccinated.
“The Summer of New York City is underway, and the beating heart of our recovery is the gratitude and respect we all share for the essential workers who brought this city out of a crisis,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, who rode on a float with hospital employees and Mr. and Mrs. Met, the New York Mets’ mascots. “This celebration honors all those who fought through adversity and unprecedented challenges to keep New Yorkers safe.”
“They deserve a march down the Canyon of Heroes, because it’s something that is reserved for the greatest folks in history. Well, here are some of the folks who made history in New York City’s toughest hour,” he said.
The parade, which stretched from Battery Park up to City Hall Park, featured 14 different floats, representing 260 different organizations, making it one of the largest ticker tape parades in the city’s history. They represented hospitals, healthcare, emergency food, community care, first responders, transportation, city workers, small businesses and bodegas, education and childcare, utilities, hospitality/buildings care, reinforcements, advocacy organizations, communication and delivery.
“New Yorkers from every corner of our city answered the call when we needed them most and showed the world what it means to be a Hometown Hero,” said Daniele Baierlein and Jorge Luis Paniagua Valle, Co-Executive Directors of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “They healed us when we were sick, fed us when we were hungry, and ensured that our city’s essential services kept pace even during the toughest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful for their selfless dedication and are proud to thank them alongside every New Yorker at the Hometown Heroes parade. There’s no stopping New York!”
“New York was among the hardest hit during the pandemic, but we likely would be grieving even more loss if it were not for the brave efforts of our health care heroes,” said Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health. “We are excited to celebrate our frontline workers, who, through their tireless efforts, saved countless lives and kept us safe during the throws of the pandemic. We applaud them, too, for guiding us to recovery and helping us claim a much-needed victory in the war against COVID-19.”
Mastercard served as the parade’s Title Supporter; other supporters included: AMN Healthcare, AT&T, Con Edison, Google, Greater New York Hospital Association, Montefiore Medical Center, Mount Sinai Health System, National Grid, New York Presbyterian, Northwell, New York Life, Pfizer, Preferred Meals and Walgreens Duane Reade.
“Healthcare workers, essential community business owners and everyday heroes were at the forefront of the crisis and helped us navigate new ways of interacting,” said Linda Kirkpatrick, President, North America for Mastercard. “We are proud to honor and celebrate our New York City hometown heroes whose hard work and dedication kept us safe and allowed our community to reunite.”
“It’s a true joy to be a part of this celebration. We honor all of the essential workers and healthcare heroes of New York City. We also give our deepest gratitude to all the nurses, physicians, allied professionals, and others who stepped forward and traveled from other locations to New York during the darkest days of COVID-19, providing support to treat the sickest, most critical patients. Many of these healthcare professionals were on the front lines of COVID-19 when cases and fatalities were spiking, safety procedures were still evolving, and the nature of the virus was not fully known. We are so grateful for the care and compassion of all those who answered the call to serve during the pandemic,” said Susan Salka, President and CEO, AMN Healthcare.
“When New York City was the epicenter of the worst global pandemic in a century, our hospitals and their extraordinary workforce kept the health care system from collapsing,” said Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) president Kenneth E. Raske. “While hospital leaders expanded bed capacity by 50% virtually overnight, our doctors, nurses, patient transporters, environmental services staff, and countless others risked their lives every day to care for astonishing numbers of COVID-19 patients. The hospital community is honored to share this special day with every essential worker who helped pull the City through the pandemic, and we are grateful to Mayor de Blasio and New York City for recognizing the hometown heroes who gave so much. GNYHA salutes and thanks all of them.”
“We are proud to join in celebrating the heroes of this pandemic. Our frontline workers have saved thousands of lives and cared for the residents of this great city. Their strength, courage and resilience is truly remarkable and inspiring, and we thank them for their service as we fight to end this pandemic and return to normal. Mount Sinai Health System is a stronger medical-research community and our city and country are stronger and more ready, because of our frontline heroes,” said Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and CEO, Mount Sinai Health System.
“We are honored to celebrate New York’s essential workers and all they do for this great city of ours, and deeply grateful to our own amazing team of health care heroes,” said Dr. Steven J. Corwin, president and chief executive officer of NewYork-Presbyterian. “We will never forget their sacrifices and their extraordinary dedication to our patients and all New Yorkers during this unprecedented time. As we build toward recovery, we proudly cheer them on – at the ‘Hometown Heroes’ Ticker Tape Parade and every day.”
“Pfizer greatly appreciates the opportunity to recognize our ‘Hometown Heroes’ – the essential workers who kept the City moving forward, and cared for the City’s most vulnerable, during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “As a company founded and headquartered here in New York City, we take special pride in the heroes among us at Pfizer, including not only our colleagues who worked tirelessly, along with our partners at BioNTech, to deliver in less than a year a breakthrough COVID-19 vaccine, but also our medically trained colleagues who volunteered to provide medical care to COVID-19 patients during the pandemic. We are thrilled that many of these colleague volunteers will have the chance to be celebrated by riding on our float in the parade.”
“When millions of our neighbors were home-bound and quarantined, our teams pulled together and leapt to action to provide over 5 million meals to New York City residents in need. The challenges of the pandemic required quick action, tireless dedication and expert execution, and I couldn’t be more proud of the work of our teams at Preferred Meals, Prepared Meals Company, Abigail Kirsch, Constellation Culinary Group, and TRIO Community Meals in serving the people of New York,” said Paul Altobelli, Managing Director of Prepared Meals Co.
“We are incredibly proud of our Walgreens and Duane Reade team members in New York City and across the country for the essential role they are playing to help end the pandemic and allow for celebrations, such as parades to recognize hometown heroes, to resume,” said John Standley, executive vice president, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. and president of Walgreens. “Our pharmacy staff and store team members saw first-hand the range of emotions our customers and patients experienced during this pandemic —from anxiety and strain to the relief that accompanies vaccination. We’ve administered more than 25 million vaccine doses across the nation, demonstrating Walgreens crucial role in healthcare, as the communities we serve continue to turn to our trusted pharmacists and pharmacy technicians for their healthcare needs.”
“National Grid employees showed incredible strength, courage and resiliency during the pandemic, adapting to the changes required to safely and reliably serve our customers,” said Rudy Wynter, President, National Grid New York. “As the new president of our New York business, I’m very proud of our employees who went the extra mile providing food and essential care items to support our neighbors and other first responders in the communities we serve. I’m grateful for all essential workers who kept this great City running despite the unprecedented challenges.”
“In tough times, true heroes are revealed. We applaud the bravery and sacrifice of all the courageous essential workers who put their lives on the line to care for those in need throughout the pandemic,” said Heather Nesle, president of the New York Life Foundation. “With our support, The Brave of Heart Fund was launched to honor the selfless frontline healthcare workers who lost their lives to protect the rest of us. While nothing can replace the lives lost, we are offering financial assistance of up to $75,000 to the families of those valiant healthcare workers including nurses, orderlies, cafeteria workers and anyone who worked in a medical facility and was exposed to COVID-19. Charitable relief grants remain available through 2021 and we invite every family of a healthcare worker lost to COVID-19 to visit BraveofHeartFund.com to apply for support.”
“Over the last year and a half, our essential workers and healthcare heroes fought on the frontlines against COVID-19, taking New York City from one of the worst early epicenters of the virus to one of the best examples of beating back this pandemic,” said Patricia Jacobs, President – Northern Region, AT&T. “At a time when New Yorkers were told to stay home to stay safe, these essential workers showed up day-in and day-out to save lives – I cannot think of a better way to honor their heroic work than a ticker tape parade. We will forever owe these Hometown Heroes a debt of gratitude, and AT&T is proud to support this public display of thanks.”
“Con Edison is proud to salute New York City’s essential workers at the Hometown Heroes Ticker Tape Parade,” said Matthew Ketschke, president of Con Edison Company of New York. “Our field crews and control room personnel never stopped working throughout the pandemic to provide New Yorkers with safe and reliable energy. We thank them and all essential workers for their commitment and dedication to our community.”
“COVID has presented unfathomable challenges and changes to our city, our nation and the world. We all owe so much to every first responder and essential worker who persevered over the past year and a half to take care of our families, friends, and neighbors,” said Torrence Boone, VP and Google New York Site Lead. “Google is proud to join Mayor de Blasio and all New Yorkers in sending our gratitude and thanks.”
Because of the extreme heat, a ceremony that was supposed feature Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts was cancelled. However, water and cooling stations were provided along the route.
“It being the 125th anniversary of New York City’s ticker tape celebrations, this is arguably the most important of them all. From being the epicenter of the global pandemic, to being the forefront of recovery, on behalf of all City agencies, it is our privilege to honor all of our hometown heroes, and truly show the world there is no stopping New York,” said Dan Gross, Executive Director of Citywide Events.
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