Ticker tape parade

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Ticker tape parade for presidential candidate Richard Nixon in New York in 1960, showing the classic streams of ticker tape.
Ticker tape parade in New York City in honor of the Apollo 11 astronauts, August 1969. Ticker tape was on its way out by this time, and much of the visible paper looks to be confetti and scrap paper.

A ticker tape parade is a parade event held in a built-up urban setting, allowing large amounts of shredded paper (originally actual ticker tape, but now mostly confetti) to be thrown from nearby office buildings onto the parade route, creating a celebratory effect by the snowstorm-like flurry. The concept originates from and is most usually associated with the United States, especially with New York City.


The term originated in New York City after a spontaneous celebration held on October 28, 1886, during the dedication of the Statue of Liberty[1] and is still most closely associated with New York City. The term ticker tape originally referred to the use of the paper output of ticker tape machines, which were remotely driven devices used in brokerages to provide updated stock market quotes. Nowadays, the paper products are largely waste office paper that have been cut using conventional paper shredders. The city also distributes paper confetti.[2]

In New York City, ticker tape parades are reserved for special occasions. Soon after the first such parade in 1886, city officials realized the utility of such events and began to hold them on triumphal occasions, such as the return of Theodore Roosevelt from his African safari, Gertrude Ederle swimming the English Channel, and Charles Lindbergh's trans-Atlantic flight. The first individual to be honored with a ticker tape parade was Admiral George Dewey, hero of the battle of Manila Bay, in 1899, when two million people came out to New York City. [3] Following World War II, several ticker tape parades were given in honor of victorious generals and admirals, including General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Admiral Chester Nimitz. The largest was given for World War II and Korean War General Douglas MacArthur in 1951, after he was summarily relieved of duty by President Harry S. Truman.

Through the 1950s, ticker tape parades were commonly given to any visiting head of state, such as Habib Bourguiba representing the fight over colonialism. In the 1960s, following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, they became increasingly rare.

They are generally reserved now for space exploration triumphs, military honors and sports championships. The section of lower Broadway through the Financial District that serves as the parade route for these events is colloquially called the "Canyon of Heroes". Lower Broadway in New York City has plaques in the sidewalk at regular intervals to celebrate each of the city's ticker tape parades.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Sights and Sightseers". The New York Times. October 29, 1886. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  2. ^ Matuszewski, Erik. "Giants, New York Set for First Ticker Tape Parade Since 2000." Bloomberg, 5 February 2008.
  3. ^ Laura Fitzpatrick "Brief History Ticker-Tape Parades." Time Magazine 6 November 2009