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Women's National Soccer Team Celebrates In New York City


Here's a historical trivia question - what is ticker tape? Many years ago, before the Internet, even before printers, there were ticker tape machines. News agencies or investment firms would get information, news sent out, and they would click out - they'd be typed out on long strips of paper. And when war heroes or other people to be celebrated came to New York City for a parade, people would throw ticker tape out of the office buildings onto them - a ticker tape parade. And it's still called that, even though nobody uses ticker tape anymore.

NPR's Neda Ulaby is in New York, where the U.S. women's soccer team is getting its ticker tape parade today after winning the World Cup. And Neda, is anybody throwing anything out the windows?

NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: People are throwing stuff out the windows; it may not be the old-fashioned ticker tape. But the Downtown Alliance, which is the not-for-profit that organizes these things has encouraged people to open their windows - insofar people can open office windows anymore - to throw whatever they have out of it, as well as at least 2,000 pounds of recycled paper, which has been shredded and is floating through the air. And it may not be as lovely as ticker tape in days gone by, but it is quite beautiful.

INSKEEP: And of course, environmentally sensitive since it is recycled. What are these - what are the celebrations like, besides the stuff floating in the air?

ULABY: Look - it's really, super crowded here. There are a ton of people, lots of families, which has actually made the crowd situation a little bit intense. A lot of - it's really kind of a lot of (inaudible) dads and daughters, old people, multigeneration - people from all over the world are here to cheer on the women's soccer team.

INSKEEP: I guess we should mention not every sports championship team, American sports championship team, necessarily gets a ride on floats up that Canyon of Heroes, as it's called, in lower Manhattan. What does it - what is it about the women's soccer team that gets them this kind of honor, this kind of attention?

ULABY: Well, it should be noted, Steve, that this is the second time the U.S. women's soccer team has been given this honor.


ULABY: The very last time there was a ticker tape parade in New York City, it was for the women's team when they won the World Cup in 2015. So there is something about women's soccer right now that has clearly captured the cultural imagination in the way very few things do, including ticker tape parades.

INSKEEP: What kinds of things are you hearing and seeing in the crowds?

ULABY: Oh, well, you know, the sort of predictable chants of USA, USA, a lot of screaming of individual player's names. The U.S. sanitation - sorry, the New York City Sanitation Department has a giant presence. There's bagpiping. There's a lot of people wearing - I'm looking at a lady right now wearing - who's dressed up as Uncle Sam. A lot of face painting, rainbow flags, purple hair - people are going all-out for this.

INSKEEP: A little bit less work getting done in Manhattan than perhaps is normally the case.

ULABY: (Laughter) Well, everyone I've talked to has taken the day off of work or has come in from out of town. I talked to one woman who came in from Ohio just for this.

INSKEEP: Now, do I have this right - it goes up Broadway, which is the tip of Manhattan Island, and it's heading toward New York City Hall, right?

ULABY: That's correct - where they're going to meet the mayor and be given the keys to the city.

INSKEEP: The keys to the city - what else is happening today?

ULABY: Well, as soon as they get that honor from Mayor de Blasio, the U.S. women's team is going to hop on a plane, and they're going to fly to Los Angeles, where they're going to be at the ESPY Awards. And the setting will continue with - as I understand it, around talk show appearances.

INSKEEP: And I guess, at some point, they get to Washington, D.C., where it sounds like many members of the team do not feel like visiting the White House, but some may feel like visiting Congress - is that correct?

ULABY: As I understand it. But they certainly are guests of honor in New York City. Here, the crowd could not be happier to see them.

INSKEEP: OK, there we go. Neda, thanks so much.

ULABY: Thank you, Steve.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Neda Ulaby in New York City, where the U.S. women's soccer team is being celebrated for winning the World Cup. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Neda Ulaby
Neda Ulaby reports on arts, entertainment, and cultural trends for NPR's Arts Desk.