Archive | August, 2019

Indians Celebrate Independence With A Bang

20 Aug
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Jallosh Getting the Parade Started

     Labeled as the largest Independence Day celebration outside of India, the 73rd annual parade kicked off this past Sunday to thousands of revelers on Madison Avenue. The parade route was getting filled up especially around the staging area near 27th Street where VIP guests Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty and others settled in to watch the amazing display of colors and love of country and tradition. As usual, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade.

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     After parade sponsors, including the NBA, Dunkin Donuts and parade founders Federation of Indian Associations made their way down the parade route, the thunderous drum sounds of the perennial favorites Jallosh could be heard from blocks away. As always they got the crowd worked up for what would be a most festive day. They did have some competition from another drum group that played with high energy. This years theme served to honor those that served in India’s military. There were a few minor protesters over the recent conflict in Kashmir but it did not interfere with events celebration.  India has always had deep rooted spiritual beliefs and was on display with many groups invoking peace and mindfulness, compassion and caring for one another.

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     Indian businesses have thrived in NYC and continue to grow in every field especially in tech and engineering and architecture. Various floats touted their successes but one that stood out with some high energy dancers were the Bambino Express float. This year’s parade proudly displayed the traditions and vibrant cultures of India in celebration of their Independence from Great Britain.

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Dominicans Bring Fire to the Streets of 6th Ave.

13 Aug
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Lechones Whipping Up the Crowd

     The dog days of summer usually bring some of the hottest days the city has seen. That heat was surpassed when the Dominicans took over 6th Avenue and brought their  fast paced merengue music blasted over some amazing custom designed cars and  SUVs. This is the 37th year the parade celebrates all things Dominican with hundreds of thousands happy revelers. As usual with most parades, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade. Parade organizers led the way with invited guests and politicians. Congressman Adriano Espaillat, of NY’s 13th Congressional district that serves many Dominicans living in upper Manhattan and the Bronx. He was joined by the top law official of NYS, Attorney General Leticia James. Once all the politicians made their way up the parade route, then the fun began.

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Congressman Espaillat and NY AG Leticia James

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Charytin and her twins

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Merengue Superstar Tono Rosario

 

     One of the most revered entertainers from the Dominican Republic made her way up the parade route to the delight of screaming fans. Charytin has been in entertainment for over 30 years and has over 18 albums to her name. The Madrina (godmother) of the parade was joined on the float with her children, twins Shalim and Sharina. Soon after the Grand Marshall of the parade, merengue singer Tono Rosario made his way up the parade route singing some of his top hits. There were plenty of really good dancers but the Dragon Master Dancers stood out. Some of the better floats were the Goya float that really got the crowd worked up. A popular Spanish language radio station X96.3 had some good singers. The Goals float had some singers but not many people were really paying attention to them for some reason.

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     The highlights of the parade are when the Lechones of Santiago and the Diablo Cojuelo arrive to whip up the crowd…literally. The lechones are a simple costume that resembles either a pig or a duck. The Diablo Cojuelo is a mythical creature that uses a whip to keep people in line or whip other diablos. There were a few Roba La Gallina (steal the chicken) characters present. The character dresses up like a busty woman and goes around the village stealing chickens and placing them down their bra or hips. They really got the crowd worked up. In the Dominican Republic, these characters are usually seen during Carnival time. All in all, it was a fun parade with lots of music and dancing. See ya next year.

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