Giants Super Bowl Parade Sees 50,000 Fans Vie For Just 500 Front Row Seats

By Jill Colvin on February 7, 2012 6:40am 

Winner Francisco Atances, 34, of the Bronx, said he's a huge Giants fan "since I was born."
Winner Francisco Atances, 34, of the Bronx, said he's a huge Giants fan "since I was born."
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MIDTOWN — Nearly 50,000 Giants fans vied for 500 front-row seats to Tuesday's Super Bowl victory celebration — with nearly 1 million more expected to flood Downtown for a parade of heroes.

The city was swamped with calls after offering the chance to see Eli Manning and the rest of Big Blue presented with keys to the city by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a ceremony at City Hall Plaza.

Mom Dianne Russo, 40, could barely contain her excitement as she picked up two winning tickets to the show Monday evening, less than 24 hours after the Giants beat the New England Patriots in Indianapolis.

"I cannot believe this is happening right now," said Russo, who plans on taking her husband Jeffrey, a retired police officer, to see the team, including favorites Manning and Victor Cruz.

“I love the cha-cha!” she said, referring to Cruz's signature touchdown dance.

Anthony Nieves said he’s been a fan of the team for well over a decade and can’t wait to celebrate after Sunday night’s nail-biting game.

"It was amazing, amazing. I was jumping around like crazy," said Nieves, 29, who said he thought he might as well take a chance and apply to see the post-parade ceremony up close after watching four years ago from far back in the crowd.

When he got an email telling him he’d won, he was shocked.

"I thought it was a hoax," he said, adding that he plans to bring his fiancee, a fellow fan. “I feel privileged to get the tickets."

Will Santiago, 37, who lives on the Lower East Side, said that while there’s always game-day "jitters," he felt sure the win was "set in stone for Eli" from day one.

"I always felt it was destined," he said, still shocked after receiving an email Monday afternoon telling him he'd won a chance to see the players up close.

"Miraculously, I got an email," he said. "I couldn’t believe it. I replied back twice."

He said he was most looking forward to getting a glimpse of Manning, Cruz and the defense players on the team.

Husband and wife Rose and James Velson, of Staten Island, were doubly lucky. Each of them won two tickets to the festivities during the drawing.

"This is my first ticker-tape parade," said an excited Rose Velson, 38, as she picked up her tickets.

She admitted that she is, at heart, a Jets fan, but she said she was nonetheless excited to partake in the fun.

"It’s a chance of a lifetime," she said, smiling.

Tuesday's parade will kick off at Battery Place and Washington Street at 11 a.m., and continue northbound up the Canyon of Heroes to Worth Street.

The parade will be followed by the 1 p.m. City Hall P;aza ceremony, which will be broadcast to fans on the street.

The city is anticipating anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million fans to attend the parade, which will include about 50 tons of confetti raining down from buildings along the famous route.

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