NEW YORK -- Thousands of fans roared as New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning hoisted the team's Super Bowl trophy from a glittering blue-and-white float Tuesday during a victory parade through New York City, which Mayor Michael Bloomberg quipped should now be nicknamed the "Big Blue Apple."
The parade set off from the southern tip of Manhattan and moved slowly north to City Hall as fans stood dressed head-to-toe in Giants gear and confetti wafted slowly down from the high-rises that line the street.
Manning, joined by coach Tom Coughlin, Bloomberg, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other teammates, waved and grinned from the float as a deep roar rose from the crowds.
The team was introduced with thunderous applause from the lucky 250 fans who got tickets to a ceremony at City Hall Plaza, where the Giants were honored with symbolic keys to the city. Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz did his trademark salsa moves as he accepted his key.
Bloomberg asked: "Are you feeling 'deja blue' all over again?" referring to the team's 2008 win against the New England Patriots. The crowd cheered.
Coughlin said the Giants were successful because they never gave up.
"The key thing was to remember this: All things are possible for those who believe," Coughlin said. "We always believed."
Some fans waited since 6 a.m. to catch a glimpse of their favorite players. About half of a Long Island high school class skipped school to see "a whole nation coming together in one place -- this parade," said Mike King, 16, of Wantagh, N.Y.
King and seven school friends got up at dawn, arriving by subway in lower Manhattan to join the crowds packed behind police barricades lining Broadway. He attributed the win to the stellar performance of Manning and the hold-your-breath catch by Mario Manningham that led to the game-winning drive.
"It was one small step for the Giants, and one giant leap for the fans and the nation," King said.