Giants fans make parade, celebration plans

Giants line up outside Modells in Lake Success

Giants line up outside Modells in Lake Success to buy championship gear after New York defeated the Patriots to win the Super Bowl. (Feb. 5, 2012) (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

Fifth-grade teachers Kathy Gaghan and Liz Kabat were so excited by the Giants' Super Bowl victory they granted their students a rare privilege Monday: no homework.

They also brought in cookies, raced to a sporting goods store during their lunch hour to buy championship shirts and banners, and soaked in what Gaghan called a "proud moment to be alive for."

"It's nice to have something to be happy about," said Kabat, who team-teaches with Gaghan at Saltzman East Memorial School in Farmingdale. "It's something that is just pure joy."

Across Long Island Monday, Giants fans basked in their team's triumph, rehashed the critical moments of Big Blue's stunning 21-17 come-from-behind win over the New England Patriots, and made plans to attend Tuesday's victory parade in Manhattan -- or at least watch it on TV.

The game "was one of the greatest Super Bowls I've seen in my life," said Vincent Clinco, 21, of Bethpage, who has been so moved by his team's winning season that he composed a rap song in their honor and posted it on YouTube. Eli Manning "has proved he is the greatest quarterback in New York history."

Clinco said he'll be taking the day off from his job as a bookkeeper to attend the parade in the Canyon of Heroes in lower Manhattan.

Kevin Kriegel, 24, of Massapequa, said he attributed the Giants' victory partly to an uncle who died last fall and was a huge Giants fan. Kriegel said he and other relatives would say a prayer and offer a toast to the uncle before every Giants game in the latter part of the season -- and the team went on a winning streak.

"He brought us the championship, I am sure," said Kriegel's father, Guy, 52, a retired NYPD officer. "We're elated. It's like Christmas Day."

Added Kevin, to whom the uncle left his sizable Giants memorabilia in his will: "There was an angel looking over us."

Many Long Island Giants fans said that despite the Patriots' formidable talent -- and a 10-9 lead at halftime -- they were confident Big Blue was going to win.

"They've been clicking," said Mark Scully, 38, of Patchogue, whose family jumped, hugged, kissed and screamed when the Giants won. "I felt they were a team of destiny."

He said he was still deciding whether he might suddenly come down with a case of "Blue Flu" Tuesday and attend the parade.

Local school districts said that while skipping classes to attend the parade is not permitted, serious penalties are also unlikely.

Christopher Rehn, 28, of East Northport, said he would work late Monday and come in early Tuesday to his job as an accountant in lower Manhattan so he could carve out time to attend the parade. "I just had a gut feeling they would beat the Patriots," he said. "I didn't have any doubts."

With Gary Dymski

and John Valenti

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