New York City (NYC)
Photo Credit: New York Times
The 2016 Parade was held on Sunday, June 12th.
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One of NYC’s most colorful and loud parades, the Puerto Rican Day Parade is held on the second Sunday of June.
The Parade starts at Fifth Avenue and 44th Street and proceeds north to 86th Street. Blue, red and white – the colors of
Puerto Rican flag – take over the streets of Manhattan as they decorate bandanas, t-shirts, bead necklaces and
souvenirs. The sounds of salsa and merengue accompany the dancers, as they dance their way up the Fifth Avenue in their
sequined outfits. The show, of course, would not be the same without the celebrities of Puerto Rican descent who are always
present at this event.
The Parade dates back to 1958, when a few notable Puerto Rican personalities first organized the event in Spanish Harlem in
the honor of their roots. It has grown a lot in scale and popularity since its humble beginnings. Today, over 80,000 people
march up the Fifth Avenue, including delegates from various towns of Puerto Rico and U.S. states across the country. The three
hours of televised parade coverage through local Spanish channels, Fox 5 and others consistently win the highest Nielsen
ratings for stations in the New York area. The event is transmitted via satellite to other parts of the globe, making it an
international event. Close to three million people line up the streets to cheer on the marchers and various floats. The Mayor
of NYC and the Governors of both New York and New Jersey often march in the parade. The Parade is also greeted by the New York
Roman Catholic Archbishop from the stairs of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Today, celebrations of Puerto Rican heritage also take place in other parts of the U.S., but NYC’s remains the
biggest celebration of Puerto Rican culture and one of the largest parades in the City. Over the past few years, the Parade
has also attracted a vast Latino population of various ethnic backgrounds.
The Parade celebrates the influence and achievements of Puerto Ricans in the city and the U.S. Every year an “ International Grand Marshall” of the Parade is chosen from Puerto Ricans who have contributed or made a positive impact on the American culture. The Parade also elects its Queen, who gets her own float in the Parade and wins a trip to Puerto Rico.