Ecstatic, euphoric, and roaring at the top of their lungs, thousands of New York Mets fans lined the streets of lower Manhattan yesterday to hail the 1986 World Series Champions. They waited for Ray Knight, Keith Hernandez, Jesse Orosco, Darryl Strawberry, and the other heroic boys of summer.
``Awesome,'' said Cindy Polacek, a Flushing, Queens high school student who had spray painted her hair orange to match the Met's team colors.
Most of the celebrants claimed to be life-long Mets' fans. ``Since 1969 when I was a baby in the cradle,'' says Brian Naghel of Ft. Lee, New Jersey, who was several months old when the Mets last were the World champions.
Others were a little more honest. ``I've been a fan since the games with the Astros,'' says J.J. Meyer of Fairlawn, New Jersey, decked in a Mets cap, shirt and buttons.
The fans all crammed into lower Manhattan to be part of a New York tradition: a ticker tape parade. The city's celebration after the 8-5 victory over the Red Sox stretched into the early morning hours as impromptu parades and parties broke out throughout the city. Cars honked and fans set off fireworks.
Police deployed 2,500 officers along the parade route in the concrete and glass canyons of lower Manhattan and the horses of mounted police led the procession through ankle-deep debris as office workers heaved ticker tape and shredded paper out skyscraper windows.
Politicans were quick to show their loyalty to the Mets too. Mayor Edward Koch stood in the dugout as the Mets sealed their victory. The Mayor and Governor Mario Cuomo led the teams down Broadway. Gov. Cuomo is running for reelection.
The Met's victory gave the city a boost in morale. Commercial real estate, a mainstay in the city's economy, is expected to sag as a result of the new tax bill and overbuilding. At the same time, jobs in the financial district -- the location of the Mets' parade -- have been steadily declining as firms move out of the city. Thus, for lower Manhattan, the roar of ``Let's go Mets'' was most welcome.
The mood was more subdued in Boston, where the Red Sox players returned to Fenway Park early yesterday amid cheers from about 50 fans who stubbornly waved ``We're No. 1'' signs.