NYC Ticker-Tape Parades

Charles Lindbergh’s ticker tape parade in 1927. Credit: New York Times

Charles Lindbergh’s ticker tape parade in 1927. Credit: New York Times

Today the Women's soccer team will be honored with a New York City tradition 133 years old – a ticker-tape parade up Broadway. The tradition of dumping paper on the city's heroes dates back to October 1886. As a group marched down Broadway for the unveiling of the Statue of Liberty, office workers along Broadway and Wall Street began dumping rolls of stock ticker-tape out of their windows, mimicking confetti. Ticker-tape, a one-inch-wide ribbon of paper used to record stock quotes in "ticker" machines, was invented in 1867. As the buildings got taller at the turn of the century, all stocked with excess ticker-tape, the Broadway canyon became an iconic image, the skies swirling with the ticker-tape pouring out of windows, falling down to the streets where it would pile up knee-high.

Starting in 1919, the city recognized the importance of the parade and officially instituted it as a civic function, running from Bowling Green to City Hall. Starting that year, the mayor decides who will receive the honor of a ticker-tape parade. The first city-sponsored parade welcomed home the soldiers after World War I.

During the mid-century, parades became more common, with 130 parades between 1945 and 1965, once as many as three in one week in the spring of 1950. To ensure the dramatic effect of the ticker-tape, the city started delivering confetti and shredded paper to Broadway office buildings during the 1960s.

The Downtown Alliance commemorated the past parades with granite markers along the sidewalk of Broadway's Canyon of Heroes. 
Some of the honorees over the years have included Amelia Earhart (1932), JFK (1960), the first astronauts to land on the moon (1969), Nelson Mandela (1990), the NY Rangers (1994), the Yankees and Mets (multiple times), and most recently, the Women's National Soccer Team after winning the #FIFA World Cup in 2015.