New York goes big to hail NFL champion Giants
Giants by name, Giants by actions. When it comes to doing things in a big way, few sporting teams in the world rival the National Football League's (NFL) New York Giants, on or off the field.
The Giants completed one of the most incredible turnarounds in NFL history this year to win the Super Bowl, the greatest prize in North American professional sports, for the second time in four years.
Against all odds, they won six consecutive must-win games, culminating with Sunday's 21-17 heart-stopping Super Bowl win over the favoured New England Patriots.
Then on Tuesday, they brought one of the biggest cities in the world to a standstill with a ticker-tape parade through the crowded streets of Manhattan.
Nearly one million people packed the sidewalks of New York City as the Giants players, coaches and owners were chauffeured through the streets on a convoy of open-air trucks.
"Does this city know how to throw a parade or what?" said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "Today, I am declaring the Big Apple, the Big Blue Apple."
The crowd, packed with many people who could not afford a ticket to a regular season game let alone the Super Bowl, let out a deafening roar each time they caught a glimpse of the Big Blue players and the NFL's championship Vince Lombardi Trophy.
When the cavalcade made its way down the Canyon of Heroes along Broadway, the convoy was showered with blue and white confetti and shredded paper from the office workers in the skyscrapers above them.
Grown men wiped tears from their eyes, mothers waved and blew kisses at their new sweethearts and children playing hooky from school tapped away on their cell phones and screamed liked they were at a Justin Bieber concert.
Behind the barricades, truck drivers honked their horns and street vendors sold more T-shirts than hot dogs and beer.
Security in New York is a serious business but the sight of helicopters buzzing above was no cause for alarm as television networks broadcast the parade live. On the ground, police were exchanging high-fives and fist-pumps.
America, it has been observed, loves a parade, but this was as grand and heartwarming occasion as New York has seen. It was mid-winter but the sun shone brightly. Even Mother Nature had been seduced by the Giants.
"There's a group of guys in Dallas that call themselves America's team, but looking out at all of you and the millions of people in the streets, we're America's Dream," Giants part-owner Steve Tisch said.
On the steps at City Hall, each of the Giants was presented with the keys to the city, before heading to their stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, for another reception.
The biggest cheers were reserved for head coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning, who was named the Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl
"We made it tough on ourselves," said Manning, whose team endured a four-game slide late in the campaign that left them in danger of missing the playoffs.
"So, thank you for believing in us."