A massive sea of blue greeted the Giants Tuesday in the Canyon of Heroes, as they celebrated their thrilling Super Bowl victory with an estimated million fans who showered them with confetti and thunderous cheers.
The Giants slowly made their way up Broadway on blue-and-white decorated floats during a raucous hourlong celebration, and then were feted at City Hall, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave them the symbolic keys to the city and proposed a new name for New York -- "Big Blue Apple."
Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning told the crowd at City Hall that the team never lost its confidence, even when losses piled up and the team was 7-7 late in the season.
"We never lost faith in ourselves, and congratulations to all of you," he said.
Coach Tom Coughlin told the crowd he had spoken with President Barack Obama, who "praised our football team. He praised our mental toughness, our resiliency, our leadership, the great ability that this team possessed to finish, to win so many games in the fourth quarter."
On the streets it was pandemonium, as fans showered the Giants with an estimated 40 tons of confetti and screamed their adoration.
As the Giants' floats moved from Battery Place and turned left to head up Broadway into the Canyon of Heroes, confetti already was fluttering through the air on a breeze that carried it toward the park and New York Harbor.
Ahead lay the awe-inspiring sight of upward of a million Giants fans lining Broadway as far as the eye could see, spilling into side streets and filling plazas in front of towering office buildings. The noise was deafening.
But the biggest star of the day was Manning. He and others took turns hoisting the silver Vince Lombardi Trophy into the air as they rode the floats up Broadway.
Giants players were overwhelmed by the fans' jubilation.
"This day has been truly magical," safety Antrel Rolle said later in the afternoon at a rally at MetLife Stadium, where the Giants estimated between 40,000 and 45,000 fans turned out. "You take it in. You try to soak it all in at one time. For me, this is the day that it truly hit me, what we have accomplished. You hear all about the parade and the fans, but you never really appreciate what it means and understand the true feeling of it unless you experience it."
"We're so focused on our jobs and staying grounded all the time, sometimes you don't stop and appreciate how much this means to everyone," long snapper Zak DeOssie said. "Today is that day when you realize we've touched everyone's life."
Bloomberg told the crowd at City Hall, "We are here today because this team of Giants believed in each other, because you believed in them. We believe! . . . We believe that as long as there was time on the clock and as long as Eli Manning had the ball, we would win the game."
He asked the crowd, "What do the first three letters of Elite spell?" and then led them in chats of "M-V-P."
Steve Tisch, team chairman and executive vice president, told the crowd at City Hall, "Two nights ago 111 million people saw the New York Giants cancel the Brady Bunch!"
He added: "In Texas there's a group of guys who call themselves America's Team. On this stage with me is America's Dream."