11/06/09 5:15 PM EST
Front-row seat for Jay-Z at parade
Former mayor Giuliani, director Lee also in attendance
By Brittany Ghiroli / Special to MLB.com
Rapper Jay-Z, former mayor Rudy Giuliani and director Spike Lee were among the notable attendants on Friday morning, as the Yankees celebrated their 27th World Series championship with a ticker-tape parade down Broadway that kicked off at Battery Place at 11 a.m. ET.
Jay-Z, whose hit rap song "Empire State of Mind" has become an unofficial anthem for the Yankees, stood perched on a blue and white float next to Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. With a "Pride of New York" banner on the front of their vehicle, the pair waved, laughed and took in the moment in celebratory glee. Jay-Z, who later performed his New York-loving single on the stage of City Hall, was wearing a World Series hat and jacket, and prompted A-Rod to flash his World Series championship bling for the raucous crowd.
Meanwhile on the corner of Vesey and Broadway, Lee took photos from atop a stepladder, across from the old St. Paul's Church. A diehard Yankees fan who hasn't missed a home game, Lee wore a cap with years listing all of the Yankees' championships.
"I had an assist from Sanitation and NYPD," he said, as officers beside him laughed and nodded. "We got the best seat. Got some love."
Lee described the feeling on Friday morning in one word: "Exuberance."
"New York is taken for granted, but it's been nine years since we've done this," Lee said. "You shouldn't take it for granted. There's not entitlement in sports. Just because we have the largest payroll doesn't guarantee you anything in sports. There's lots of people who hate us, and we have to overcome that."
Lee walked up and down the celebrated streets before finding the perfect spot at the very end of the parade, where closer Mariano Rivera's float was rolling by. The Yankees' great was waving to each side of the street, and then he saw Lee, who waved at him just like any other fan did. Rivera sort of bowed and then pointed at him, an instant connection of New York icons, a brotherhood.
Giuliani, another face synonymous with the city, rode along several cars behind current mayor Michael Bloomberg, who later handed keys to the city to the Yankees.
While most of the honorees rode standing atop the floats, Yankees legend Yogi Berra and Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson each cruised comfortably in their own classic convertibles, each player a veteran of the Canyon of Heroes jaunt.
Upon arriving to City Hall, Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who cruised in a float with his parents, paid homage to the millions of fans who weren't afforded the luxury of celebratory status.
"You guys definitely did not disappoint us," Jeter said to the crowd of screaming fans, already chanting "28" in anticipation of the next championship, and the next ticker-tape parade.
Brittany Ghiroli is a contributor to MLB.com. Mark Newman contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.