Saturday, 2:15 PM
By Donovan Slack, Globe Staff
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino called on Celtics fans across the region to get their green on and show the NBA champions some love Thursday during a victory parade through the streets of Boston.
It will be the fifth sports championship parade in the past five years, and the mayor today could not help bragging.
"We're a city of champions," he said at a City Hall press conference. "We are 'Title Town.'"
Menino outlined plans for the victory parade, which will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday at the TD Banknorth Garden and wind its way to Copley Square in the Back Bay. Streets around the route will be closed to traffic beginning at 9:30 a.m.
The parade will consist of some 16 duck boats carrying Celtics owners, staff and players, and two flatbed trucks with Celtics dancers, former Celtics greats and NBA championship trophies from past years.
At the press conference, the mayor hailed the Celtics' "spectacular" win over the Los Angeles Lakers last night to clinch the championship, the team's first in 22 years.
"This team is a real team," said Menino, who was flanked by public safety officials and Celtics President Rich Gotham.
Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said city officials expect hundreds of thousands of fans to descend on the city tomorrow and he urged that everyone celebrate responsibly. He said 22 people were arrested last night during post-championship celebrations. Davis said police officers are still reviewing video tapes to identify other people who vandalized storefronts and engaged in other destructive behavior.
Gotham said neither he nor his staff members slept last night.
"It was surreal," he said. "The feeling was just euphoric."
City transportation officials are urging fans to use public transportation Thursday, saying the parade route's beginning at the Garden could pose more problems than previous rolling rallies that have started near Fenway Park. Streets around the Garden are major commuter thoroughfares, and Transportation Commissioner Thomas Tinlin said he expects more traffic congestion because of it.
"The MBTA is your best friend," he said.
Tinlin said the MBTA will be running at rush-hour levels throughout the parade.
Parking will be prohibited Thursday on New Chardon Street; State Street from Congress to Washington streets; and Court Street from Washington to Tremont streets. Boylston Street between Dartmouth and Gloucester streets will be used as a staging area. Other downtown streets will also be closed.
Donovan Slack can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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