New York — Thousands of fans lined the Canyon of Heroes for the Yankees' third straight ticker-tape parade Monday as manager Joe Torre hailed his players as "maybe the best team of all time."
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani gave each Yankee a key to the city and gushed that: "The relationship between the people of the city of New York and the New York Yankees is a love affair that goes back a very, very long time."
"Has there ever been a team better than this one?" Giuliani shouted. "The best!"
Reams of shredded paper hurled from office windows created a virtual blizzard as parade-goers many of them skipping work or school helped the Yankees celebrate their fourth World Series championship in five years.
"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 at least four fires erupted and quickly spread; the cause was not immediately known. Firefighters doused the flames, and there were no reports of injuries.
Police reported two stabbings near the parade route on lower Broadway. Neither victim was considered to be in danger of death, and it was unclear whether the violence was related to the parade.
A police officer on the mayor's float was struck on the bridge of his nose by a flying phone book; he was not seriously hurt.
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 Giuliani joined Torre on the "trophy float."
The Yankees' 4-1 victory over the Mets was the first Subway Series since 1956 and it gave the team its record 26th World Series title.