The breezy winds made 5th Ave. feel like you were on a trip to Old San Juan to visit El Moro and the narrow cobblestone streets of the historic section of the Capitol of Puerto Rico. Just as the breeze was picking up so were the winds of change as many activists were screaming for changes on the island. The recent debt debacle, brilliantly explained by John Oliver, set off a movement for the many Puerto Ricans here on the mainland and on the island to stand up and fight for their rights. Thousands of marchers helped to raise awareness of issues from the Free Oscar Lopez group to the call for No Promesa, where the people of Puerto Rico rejected the legislation Washington is trying to impose on the island. The group from the town of Arecibo came to celebrate their 500th year of being founded but with a message of resistance to the proposed incinerator in their municipality. Probably the best float of the parade was from the group from Arecibo with a 40 ft. wooden boat. They were loud and proud after a recent victory blocking the sale of a public access beach to private developers.Another great example of how the winds of change is coming to form is how a grassroots group, the Artculturenyc, has taken up the cause of the toxic ashes blowing in many town in Puerto Rico. A fitting musical interpretation of the changes going was from a musical float with the Orquestra La Resistencia de Puerto Rico. They tore it up. The loudest of all these movements had to have been from the Yonomequito group and all their supporters. It’s the vibrancy and youthful energy that change can come about. All these movements reflect how the power and strength of the Puerto Rican people are calling for positive change. If any one of these groups calls your attention, please get involved. Your help makes a difference.
Free Oscar Lopez
Rosario Dawson Family Picture
No Promesa Activists
YoNoMeQuito Working the Crowd
The 59th annual parade up 5th Ave. celebrates the culture and contribution of Puerto Rico to the great city of New York and all over the country. It’s a culmination of a week long celebration of events going on throughout the city. From the Salsa Festival where some of the best dancers show off their moves to a few championship boxing bouts in Madison Square Garden to a concert from Grand Marshall Ednita Nazario at Lehman College, Puerto Ricans were in full party mode.Kicking off the parade was the NYPD Hispanic Society float with a jamming salsa band. They really did a great job and got the crowd worked up for a fun-filled day. Hey FDNY, where was your band?…Sad..sad..sad. One of the best marching bands from the island was from Guaynabo. They can compete with any band from NYC. The crowd got worked up when the King and Queen of the Parade made their appearance. NY Knick superstar, Carmelo Anthony, waved to the crowd. The stunning actress Rosario Dawson was there with her mom and grandmother and posed for a great family picture. This year the LGBT community sent more representatives than in past years. They were all in sorrow for the senseless massacre that happened just the night before in Orlando.
NYPD in Fine Form
Baton Twirler Locked In
Without doubt one of the best cultural representations came from the group from Vieques, a small island off the east coast of Puerto Rico. They had a group of drummers and carnival dancers and costumes representing the natural beauty of the island at risk due to human interference. Grand Marshall Ednita Nazario was caught signing an album for an adoring fan. An inspiring float was from LaBoriquena, a super hero created by Mr. Edgardo. The cool graphic designed tshirts can be purchased at his website, mredgardonyc.deviantart.com, and proceeds help fund scholarships to help college bound students. Some Puerto Ricans would prefer to hit something else other than the books. Undefeated lightweight boxer, Felix Verdejo, fresh off a victory the night before, made his appearance. Woman’s Champions sisters, Cindy and Amanda Serrano, were having fun at the parade. They have a chance to do for women’s boxing what the Williams sister did for tennis..turn it upside down and dominate the sport.
Mr. Edgardo and La Borinquna
Carmelo Anthony Chilling
Felix Verdejo after a fight the night before
Boxing Champs Cindy and Amanda Serrano
Puerto Ricans love their music and love to dance. Some great floats and dancers showcased their talents at the parade. The Goya float had a kicking band. But without doubt the best band was on the Teamsters Local 237 float. They really tore it up and had the best brass section I’ve heard in a long time. Salsa dancers have always been a big part of the Puerto Rican culture. The art form is alive and well with groups like XDance and the crowd favorite La Tamina. A twirling group that came from Boston, Estrellas Tropicales, made a nice impression on the crowd, but probably the best dance interpretation of Hector Lavoe’s famous Aguanile was from the South Bronx Kids. They did a great job. With about a million people lining the streets of 5th Ave. waving their flags in pride, the parade was the best of the year so far.
YO SOY BORIQUA PA QUE TU LO SEPA!!