LaSalle Street Civility

While ticker-tape parades are old hat back home in Gotham, we sure never threw one like last Friday’s Sox celebration. It is ingrained in a New Yorker to expect that you take your life in your hands when you wade into a crowd of a million of your least-close friends for any reason save the Macy’s Parade. So you’ll pardon me if I marvel at what took place last week.

Which, exactly, was a ticker-tape parade attended by 1.75 million people where no one was shot, stabbed, run over, crushed to death, or otherwise perturbed in any significant or death-inducing manner. Soaked with beer? Sure. Jostled like a leaf in a stiff wind by the burgeoning crowd? Of course. Temporarily deafened, even? Perhaps. But the giddy, good-natured glee shared by those who attend the event–which, if you were there, you’d know roughly included every living soul present in the Loop at Noon–was what I found most remarkable of all.

To see a crowd that by official estimate equaled more than half of the entire population of Chicago smile unrelentingly for an hour and more-or-less, albeit momentarily, harbor ill will towards none, well, that’s a feat I don’t expect to see repeated anytime soon (let’s face it, the World Series trick’s finally been done, half the city wouldn’t turn out again even if the Cubs aced it in ’06).

To be sure, there were moments of drama. I especially liked the LaSalle Bank float getting stuck underneath the Lake Street L tracks. Quick-thinking bankers spared no time in ripping down the top of the float so the parade could continue. And I worried that da Mare’s dictum that no one throw ticker tape off of buildings would actually be honored. Judging by the dozens of bags of shredded newspaper I saw tossed off of skyscraper roofs, I’m glad it wasn’t. (I mean, if there’s one thing we do know in New York, it’s that ticker tape is supposed to float downwards from hundreds of feet in the air, not be shot barely 30 feet up by an air cannon).

I do wonder what all those parents are doing with all that ticker tape that all those kids scooped up and carried home. I expect a correlation with unusually high weekend Tylenol and Zoloft sales, myself. Parents who were actually thinking on Friday realized that the ticker-tape parades their little ones would end up throwing in the living room would occur with what, as soon as it hit LaSalle Street, instantly became beer-soaked ticker tape.

Still, I got to have a blast with a million people who played nice with each other and didn’t trash my neighborhood too badly. And best of all, unlike the Wicked crowd, no one asked me where Navy Pier or Union Station was.

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