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February 03, 2004

Patriots' Parade Report

Here are some notes that I scribbled in my pad as I wandered through the crowd, before, during, and after the Patriots' Parade.


At the subway station there was a line of about 30-40 people, mostly high school age, waiting to buy tokens. Good thing I found a couple of unused tokens on my dresser as I was leaving. I bypass the line and head through the turnstyles.

The train is mostly people wearing Patriots' logo wear. As I said, mostly school age, but some parents with their younger kids too.


As I arrive at Haymarket I see some very light snow flakes beginning to fall.

The Boston Mayor said in the paper this morning, "Don't skip school." Well I think every kid in Greater Boston has skipped, and they're all here on City Hall Plaza. Already a huge crowd at 11:40.

11:54 -- I hear two pop-bang noises. Probably firecrackers, but it's a wonder that no one worries about gunshots. I look around and the police are unconcerned.

Is it getting colder as I wait here? The forecast was for as high as 40 degrees. I think it's colder than that [Later: the temp at this time was 34F]

Lots of people watching from the office windows overlooking the street. One 7th floor office has opened their window and are throwing confetti down on the crowd. It looks like the output of a paper shredder machine.

There is lots of spontanous cheering from the crowd. Any little thing will set them off.

A football appears out of nowhere and bounces on the ground a few feet from me. It's being chased by the kid who missed the catch. Incomplete Pass.

A guy in a hard hat climbs one of the traffic light poles. The crowd goes wild. He blows one of those aeresol-can-horns, more cheering. Then he climbs down before someone arrives to make him.

Radio station 100.3 KKB is broadcasting from inside one of the Center Plaza restaurants. Doing occasional live inserts.

Lots of us are staring at the Jumbotron screen. They're now showing that the Parade has started somewhere back up the street, and we're trying to figure out where it is. How close to here is it? Can't tell.

When the Jumbotron shows Tom Brady in the Duck Truck, holding the Lombardi trophy in the air, it triggers the largest cheer yet from this City Hall Plaza crowd.

The people I'm seeing at the edge of the City Hall Plaza are very well-behaved. They are obviously very happy, excited, energetic, young, friendly, and from all I can see as I wander around, well-behaved.

Lots of cellphones. Many people checking in with friends and whoever.

12:44pm -- We see now on the Jumbotron that the Parade is still only at Copley Square.

More firecrackers, this time set off in one of the open-air hallways of Center Plaza. In this day and age, how does someone think it's fun -- or smart -- to set off firecrackers in a crowd!

The crowd cheers again. Is the trophy on the TV again? No, it's showing an aerial shot of City Hall Plaza. We're cheering ourselves!

Lots of signs in windows and on buildings. "Go Pats!" But isn't the "Go" part done with? Shouldn't they read, "Yay Pats!", or, "Congrats Pats", or, "Pats #1!" ???

This crowd is really near the boiling point. Just about anything will set off another round of cheering. Another guy climbing a lampost.

I just overheard a kid. "Man it's cold! But it's still better than school."

The parade will pass by the southeast corner of City Hall Plaza. We know it's close when the TV helicopters appear overhead.

1:16 PM -- We see the lead duck truck and the TROPHY for the first time. Crowd goes wild.

The ten duck truck vehicles pass by to the roaring cheers of the crowd. The players are so obviously happy. This is not a duty to them. They are having a blast. Many of the players, in the trucks, are pointing video cameras back at the crowd.

After the parade passes by, the Jumbo TV starts showing hightlights from the 4th Quarter of the Superbowl. The crowd jockeys for position to see the screen. They are very focussed on waiting to see, again, the final field goal. When it happens they cheer happily.

Music on the sound system: "For those about to Rock, we salute you."

Green jacket guy [he wasn't identified, even by the TV people later] has appeared on the stage to whip up the crowd. Cheerleading.

I've no chance of getting close enough to see the players on the stage, and I'm recording it to watch later, so I start a big circle around the perimeter of the crowd area.

Lots of people on the street behind City Hall. Over here we can hear the sound pretty good, but there are very few sightlines up to the Jumbotron.

On the street behind City Hall I count 50 police motorcycles. Boston, MBTA, State Police, from other area towns. Then I turn the corner and see what must be another 50 bikes. This is WAY MORE than the number of police that I saw here on New Years Eve.

Quick sidetrip to the Faneil Hall Men's Room. It is a HAPPY PLACE. One of the few public restroom for the hundreds of thousands of people. Relief.

Heading up the back steps of City Hall. A lot of Boston Globes have been abandoned here on the ground. They've been selling these papers with the special Patriots section, and with the inserted cardboard Pats hat that is included. It seems that many people are buying it for the hat, and trashing the rest of the paper.

The Jumbotron screens are really badly placed. They are only clearly visible from places where you can already see the actual stage. Too bad.

As I near the corner of City Hall I get to the edge of the crowd. A player in a yellow jacket (Willie McGinest?) is on the screen talking to the crowd. I can only see the left half of the screen from the spot I can get to. Oddly, you can't really understand what's being said. The sound quality was better back down at Fanl Hall.

The Plaza really is at 100% of "line of sight" capacity. The edge of the crowd is the edge of where you can see anything. Anywhere you can stand, you can't see.

Now Governor Romney is speaking. Still can't make out what is being said.

What I can see, is out over the heads of the main part of the crowd in front of the stage. There is confetti floating wonderfully in the air above this crowd. I've worked with confetti before, and if you try to get confetti to do this you will have a really hard time accomplishing it. It looks very cool. And looks even better on the TV screen as it is in the air between the cameras and the stage. Back in California, we'd say that all this confetti made it "a Kelly show".

Things seem to be wrapping up. They're playing on the PA the song, "We are the champions". The crowd is singing along.

Something of interest to event planners only: the sponsor banners on the front edge of the stage have fallen down at some point in the festivities. Too bad.

It's now about 2:15 and things are about to wrap-up. As the crowd starts to thin out I can move an additional ten steps beyond the corner of City Hall and I have an unobstructed view of the stage. That little distance made the difference between a great spot, and seeing nothing.

As I stood here I spoke with a guy who said he worked for security at Gillette Stadium. He said he was part of the group that Kraft flew down there to work on the event. He says he's one of the people you see on the sidelines wearing the yellow jackets with CSC EVENTS on the back.

2:25 -- Things are really starting to break up.

There's lots of trash on the ground. Events, large and small, all have to deal with the trash when it's over.

I head in the direction of Fanl Hall. So has most of the crowd. A lot of people have gathered around the buses behind City Hall. They want to see the player one last time as they board the buses for the ride home.

After the buses head out, I decided to try for a bite to eat at Fanl Hall. A half million other people had the same idea. The place is mobbed. No food for me just now.

The Boston Pretzel Bakery created the words SUPERBOWL CHAMPIONS in pretzel.

All in all, a great afternoon.



After the long wait, and the somewhat inane warmup speaker, the actual coach and player comments were really good. All the players spoke well and without going too long. The Ty Law dance party was better than last year. Kraft dancing with Law was classic. Beliceck's non-dance will become legend. Governor Romney and Mayor Menino had to force their way to the mic after the ceremonies had been officially ended. Cool.

Posted by jghiii at February 3, 2004 09:29 PM
Posted by: dah on February 4, 2004 12:22 PM

Looking below I notice many comment on the Super Bowl.. they are as follows
9 comments on commercials,
17 comments on Janet/Justin episode
and only 2 congads to the Pats for wining the game....
How sad is that?

Well Jack, you dont post that anything the FCC will be interested in here...I would not expect many comments from your readers here...

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