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City Nixes Ticker-Tape Parade for 9/11 Heroes

By Julie Shapiro | January 25, 2012 11:22am | Updated on January 25, 2012 12:11pm

LOWER MANHATTAN — The city has nixed a parade honoring 9/11 first responders, outraged organizers said Wednesday.

TJ Gilmartin, a 9/11 recovery worker, has been advocating for months for a ticker-tape parade down Broadway to pay tribute to those who got sick after risking their lives.

But on Tuesday afternoon, Gilmartin got a call from NYPD headquarters saying that the city would not grant a permit for the Canyon of Heroes parade. The NYPD provided no explanation, Gilmartin said.

"It's really disgusting," said Gilmartin, 51, a Queens resident who suffers from respiratory illnesses and acid reflux after spending nearly 300 hours working at Ground Zero.

"I don't think it's right," Gilmartin continued. "There are a lot of people nobody's ever said thank you to."

The last ticker-tape parade was held in November 2009 after the Yankees won the World Series.
The last ticker-tape parade was held in November 2009 after the Yankees won the World Series.
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Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

The NYPD did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

A Bloomberg spokeswoman said the city is in the process of planning an event for recovery workers, the details of which were still being worked out.

Gilmartin envisioned a grand parade down Broadway like the one that followed the Yankees' 2009 World Series win. He hoped to hold the event during the week of May 25, 2012, the 10th anniversary of the removal of the last steel beam from Ground Zero.

The parade would not have been just for the firemen and police officers — who often get honored — but also for the ironworkers, ferry captains, truck drivers and many others who contributed to the recovery effort but are rarely recognized, Gilmartin said.

"The parade was going to be for everyone affected by 9/11," Gilmartin said.

The idea of the parade gained momentum last fall when Community Board 1 voted overwhelmingly to support it.

"It is time for a big New York thank you in the Canyon of Heroes to acknowledge these heroes without whom the rebirth of Lower Manhattan would not have been possible," the board wrote in a near-unanimous resolution.

"We request that the city supports such an event."

A Facebook group supporting the parade has more than 950 members. Many of them expressed  outrage as word of the city's rejection spread.  

"A terrible disgrace....no other word for this response....disgraceful!" wrote Jacqueline Healy.

The group now plans to flood Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office with phone calls, e-mails and faxes, urging him to change his mind.

Gilmartin said Wednesday that he would not give up on the parade, no matter how the city responds.

"It just gets me more determined," he said.