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U.S. Women's Soccer Team Could Get Ticker-Tape Parade

A women’s team has never been honored on the “Canyon of Heroes,” but who has? And when did the tradition start?

New York City could host its first ticker-tape parade in more than three years in celebration of the U.S. women’s soccer team, which scored a dazzling 5-2 World Cup victory over Japan.

Ticker-tape parades are most closely associated with the Big Apple. In fact, the first ticker-tape parade in U.S. history was in New York City, and it was held in honor of a woman — well, sort of.

Here's the backstory: In the fall of 1886, an impromptu celebration broke out on the streets of the city as part of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, according to the Mayor's Office.

The New York Times reported that “the air was white with curling streamers,” as revelers marched from Madison Square to the southern tip of Manhattan.

Those curling streamers were, of course, cut-up ticker tape — a one-inch wide-ribbon of paper that stock quotes were recorded on by a “ticker” machine — thrown out of office windows high above Broadway.

The parades became so commonplace at the turn of the century that, according to TIME magazine, New York Stock Exchange officials grew concerned about the cost of throwing miles of ticker tape out the window — literally.

That worry apparently evaporated when the revelry of V-J Day in 1945 prompted thrilled New Yorkers to cover the streets in nearly 5,500 tons of paper, according to TIME.

The amount of paper thrown during ticker-tape parades over the last two decade combined doesn't even come close to matching that volume, according to the New York City Department of Sanitation.

The most recent ticker-tape parade, honoring the New York Giants Super Bowl win in 2012, resulted in a little more than 34 tons of refuse scattered on the city’s streets, according to the sanitation department.

Then again, actual ticker tape became obsolete in the 1960s. And while office paper is a good alternative, printers aren't even used much anymore, and the papers are often recycled upon use, according to Joe Timpone, a senior vice president for operations at the Alliance for Downtown New York who spoke to the New York Times after a 2008 parade for another Giants Super Bowl win.

Plus, Timpone said, newer Financial District buildings don’t allow windows to open or access to rooftops over safety concerns stemming from 9/11.