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Yankees Fans Gather To Cheer Team

NEW YORK (AP) — Reams of shredded paper hurled from office windows created a virtual blizzard in the Canyon of Heroes on Monday as thousands of fans — many of them skipping work or school — helped the Yankees celebrate their third straight World Series championship.

``We called the school from here and they know who the hooky mothers are,'' said Donna Toscano of Wyckoff, N.J., with her friend Lori Cooke and their four young children. ``It doesn't matter because our principal is a Yankee fan.''

Blustery winds and piles of paper created a scary scene toward the end of the parade when several debris fires erupted and quickly spread; the cause was not immediately known. Firefighters doused the flames, and there were no reports of injuries. Two sanitation trucks and a police car were damaged.

Immediately after the parade, there was a City Hall ceremony to present the Yankees the keys to the city.

The autumn chill did not deter the fans who started gathering hours before the parade's noon kickoff.

``I got here at 6 a.m. and I'm not crazy,'' said Robert Schaeffer, of the Bronx. ``It's a little cold but it's worth it.''

Grand Marshal Yogi Berra waved from a 1952 Chrysler convertible while a grinning Mayor Rudolph Giuliani joined Yankee manager Joe Torre on the trophy float.

It was the team's 26th World Series title and their fourth in five years. The Yankees' victory over the Mets in five games was the first Subway Series since 1956.

The Mets declined an invitation from the mayor to attend the parade, choosing to keep the focus on the Yankees.

``The last Subway Series was the year I was born, so this is like history,'' said Judy Sabin of Woodbridge, N.J., with 8-year-old son Matt in tow.

Sabin had also brought a neighbor, 11-year-old Erica Santucci, who was among the legion of young, female fans of Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter.

``I'm here for Derek,'' Erica said. ``I love Derek Jeter.''

Security for the parade was tight, with police barricades lining the streets even north of City Hall. Employees in the area were required to show identification before police allowed them into their buildings.

But security could not protect the few brave Mets fans from abuse.

Julio Santiago claimed he wasn't thinking about the parade when he put on his satin Mets jacket and headed into Manhattan. ``Oh man, even the cops are telling me to take this thing off,'' he said. ``I need some friends today.''

Giuliani, the city's highest-profile Yankees fan, stirred controversy last week by suggesting that the parade could be a learning experience for schoolchildren.

A group of four 16-year-olds from Long Island hooted and hollered about cutting school to attend the parade.

``But Giuliani says it's OK!'' Shakira Saunders said. ``I'll write an essay.''
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