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Sparce crowd greets Democrats in New York parade

It was a relatively small crowd that greeted the Democratic ticket of Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro at New York City's annual Labor Day Parade. Maybe it was the early start at 9 a.m. Perhaps it was the forecasted chance of thundershowers, though the low clouds in the sky probably made the parade march more comfortable for participants.

Whatever the reason, the sparse crowd along Manhattan's Fifth Avenue didn't seem too enthusiastic. Participants outnumbered spectators at many points along the route.

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Gary Wilson rode his bicycle down from the Bronx to watch the parade on his way to a day of cycling on Staten Island. ''I was about the only one here when (Mr. Mondale and Ms. Ferraro) went by,'' says Mr. Wilson, who adds that he will vote for Mondale this fall.

Richard Corley of Manhattan, a retired social worker, noted the lack of spirit.

''Look, even among the people marching there are very few smiles,'' says Mr. Corley. ''There is no unity.'' He recalled the campaign of Harry Truman in 1948, when Gov. Thomas Dewey of New York was expected to win. ''That's when (Truman) fought the hardest. I went to the railroad station and heard him speak (just before the election), and you could feel that spirit in the crowd.''

There were plenty of signs touting the Mondale-Ferraro ticket, and one button seller said his Ferraro pins were a hot seller. Some groups got loud applause, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which carried a coffin labeled ''Here lies voter apathy.''

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