NYC HOSTS Hometown Heroes Parade

September 13, 2021

Essential workers are recognized with a tickertape parade up Broadway.

Screen Shot 2021-09-13 at 12.41.54 PM.pngNew York City loves a party. And on July 7, the city held a big one with a parade honoring the essential workers who sacrificed so much caring for the city that became the “epicenter of the epicenter” for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The procession up the famed “Canyon of Heroes,” as Broadway in lower Manhattan is often called, included scores of unions and organizations, and thousands of the essential workers who led New York City through the darkest days of the pandemic. They marched in groups, with bands, and rode on floats. (Some 14 floats represented 260 organizations.) Wilting heat and humidity didn’t dampen spirits.

Colorful clouds of confetti burst from cannons as tickertape danced overhead. Revelers cheered on numerous drummers, sound trucks and pipe bands.

Screen Shot 2021-09-13 at 12.41.05 PM.pngAnd of course, purple t-shirts were everywhere to be seen on the parade route. Contingents of 1199ers dotted every block, cheering on their fellow heroes.

“We really were the unsung heroes during the pandemic,” said Roxanne Cook-Cornelius, a lab worker at Interfaith Hospital in Brooklyn. “I changed my shift to the nightshift because of the volume of work. We were doing lab tests around the clock.”

“Healthcare workers were—and continue to be—the backbone of the city during the pandemic and as we make progress putting it behind us,” said 1199SEIU President George Gresham. “They deserve to be celebrated in every way—with a parade and with fair contracts that honor their work and contribution to New York.”

Screen Shot 2021-09-13 at 12.41.40 PM.pngIn remarks to NY-1 News, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio echoed Gresham, noting the significance of the moment on many levels.

“This was the biggest crisis in the history of New York City. These are the folks who were the heroes,” said de Blasio. “They’re everyday working people. They don’t often get the accolades they deserve.”

1199 Magazine | July - August 2021