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Canyon of Heroes will be flooded with Yankees' fans

Nicole Libretta, 20, of Manalapan, N.J., cheers on

Nicole Libretta, 20, of Manalapan, N.J., cheers on the Yankees with other fans along Broadway near Battery Park. (Nov. 6, 2009) Credit: James Carbone

The Canyon of Heroes is about to get flooded.

Confetti will fly and bells will peal as the Yankees make their way up Broadway this morning to collect their keys to the city and bask in the adoration of perhaps a million fans.

The stretch of lower Broadway between Battery Park and Chambers Street was once as well-worn as a pair of pinstripes, but it's been nine long years since the Bronx Bombers' floats rolled this route. They'll launch at 11 a.m. and wind up at a 1 p.m. ceremony in City Hall Plaza.

When the Giants were feted there in February 2008, it was estimated that 36 1/2 tons of confetti rained down on them. Thursday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city expects even more paper - and people - Friday.

"They do expect a bigger crowd tomorrow than we had then, and that was a wonderful celebration," Bloomberg said after a news conference.

>> FANS CELEBRATE: Photos after Game 6 win | Video | Past Yankee parades

And don't worry, no trees will suffer for the celebration: The confetti will be cut from donated recycled paper, the mayor added.

More than 37,000 people applied yesterday for 500 free tickets to the City Hall Plaza ceremony. Those not lucky enough to get them can watch the proceedings on a large screen in City Hall Park. Viewing areas will be set up on the east and west sides of Broadway along the route.

Fans that line the sides of Broadway will battle brisk winds and cold temperatures. The forecase is calling for temperatures in the 40s and winds exceeding 15 mph.

Excitement was already building on Broadway Thursday, where Jimmy Rowland, 47, of Huntington was proudly sporting his Yankees jacket. "Of course I'll be there," said Rowland, who was also at Game 2 of the World Series. "It's like a national holiday."

Matthew Schneck, 12, of Briarcliff Manor was wearing his brand-new 2009 Yankees World Series Champions T-shirt Thursday. He said he hopes he can get out of school to attend his first-ever victory parade.

"I want to be in Yogi Berra's car as he drives down the parade, but I don't think that's going to happen," the seventh-grader said.

The MTA is urging fans to take mass transit to the parade, which should close streets downtown from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Long Island Rail Road will provide six extra westbound trains in the morning, and eight extra eastbound trains in the afternoon to accommodate parade-goers, the authority said.

Trinity Church, on Broadway at Wall Street, plans to honor the Yankees with its celebratory bells as the parade passes. The church's rector, the Rev. James Cooper, a lifelong Yankees fan, will offer the team a special blessing.

Only four Yankees - Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte - were on the team's roster at the last victory parade, in 2000.

Friday will mark the team's eighth paper-strewn trip down Broadway, including four times between 1996 and 2000.

Security is expected to be heavy, with both uniformed and plainclothes police deployed in full force.

Bloomberg declined to specify the cost of the event, saying some will be borne by the city and some by private donors.

Ben Curatolo, 52, of Massapequa, said his employer, Prudential, e-mailed workers to say they could wear Yankee gear to work Friday. He said he plans to be at the parade.

"I love the spirit of it all, and the excitement," he said.

>> COMPLETE COVERAGE: Yankees win 27th World Series title | Story archive

>> PHOTOS: Game 6 | Fans celebrate | Game 5 | Game 4 | Game 3 | Game 2 | Game 1

>> VIDEO: Yanks win 27th title | Players celebrateFans react

>> BLOGS: Yankees postseason | Ken Davidoff's MLB Insider

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