Visitors to lower Manhattan may notice some unusual granite markers embedded in the sidewalks along Broadway. Those granite markers looks like this:
The further you walk, the more markers you will see – and they are located on both sides of the street. Each marker lists a date and a person or group of people. But why are they here? The answer is actually located above, on the street corner signs along this path. The stretch of Broadway from the tip of Manhattan, known as the Battery, to City Hall is known as the Canyon of Heroes.
But what qualifies someone to be included in the Canyon of Heroes, you might ask? All someone needs to do is be the guest of honor at one of New York City’s ticker tape parades! One of the earliest parades along this route was on October 28, 1886, celebrating the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, but ticker tape parades really got their start when American troops began returning home after World War I.
Here’s the granite marker for the start of the Canyon of Heroes. (As you can see from the edge of the photos, some of the sidewalk vendors end up blocking some markers.)
In all, there have been more than 200 ticker tape parades, and every one has been commemorated with a granite marker. Approximately 130 of those took place during a 20-year period between 1945 and 1965. During time period, heads of state of many countries were honored with parades. It’s interesting to see some of the names of those heads of state today. Although they were known as allies of the United States, some of these heads of state had mixed records when it came to democratic government or human rights issues. The markers show a wide range of international leaders from all over the world.
Here are just a few of the markers for heads of state.
There are many other markers as well, commemorating milestones in terrestrial and outer space exploration, sports figures and teams, famous cultural figures, and more. Here are some additional examples of some of those markers.
Interested in learning more about the ticker tapes parades commemorated in the Canyon of Heroes? This website has more information about them, as well as several historical parade photos and even a podcast.