The annual Puerto Rican Day Parade has been held on the streets of New York City since 1958 when it was known as the Hispanic Day Parade. The parade celebrates Puerto Rican culture and all it has contributed to the city of New York and the United States as a whole. The parade started as a small neighborhood affair but evolved into the mega-event you see today.
The Annual Event
The parade is held on the second weekend in June. The event was created by local people from northern Manhattan who decided to celebrate their heritage by throwing a neighborhood party and parade. Each year a Queen of the Parade is elected from entrants who are eligible to win a trip to Puerto Rico and a ride on a parade float designated for the purpose. The best way to get to and from the parade is by subway, as traffic and street closures make transportation above ground difficult. Food along the route is only available from street vendors or from shops which may or may not be open a few blocks west and east of the parade. Bring any snacks or drinks you may require.
As with so many New York City events, a host of local television and radio stations cover the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Every local newspaper is also represented at the parade as are correspondents from Puerto Rican media outlets and reporters from throughout the Caribbean. The major local network affiliates air the parade live and provide parade wrap-ups on their respective websites and in the following day's newspaper editions. New York City is home to several Spanish-speaking radio and TV stations, as well as print media and magazines.
Evolution of the Parade
New York City's Puerto Rican Day Parade went green for the first time in 2011. The parade now uses only low-emissions hybrid vehicles to tow the floats and carry participants. Overall conservation of the island and its natural resources was also a theme of the day. At one time, the parade, which is held in one of the most expensive areas in the city, was defended against by local residents and landlords who erected blockades in front of each building. In 2011, the N.Y.P.D. decided to increase its manpower and with a heavy presence deter any possible issues from ever arising.
The Puerto Rican Day Parade is held each year on Fifth Avenue alongside the eastern border of Central Park and running from just north of Time Square to 79th Street. All along the route onlookers gather from the early morning hours to watch the parade, listen to Puerto Rican music and enjoy the day. While a good amount of the average crowd of 2 million is of Puerto Rican descent, people of all nationalities and backgrounds make the parade a popular destination. North of the parade route in El Barrio, a Puerto Rican cultural center and neighborhood in New York's East Harlem, the parade leads to a day of celebrations and barbecues for the whole community.
- National Puerto Rican Day Parade: Home
- NY Daily News; Anual Puerto Rican Day Parade Marches Down...; Trevor Kapp, et al.; June 12, 2011
- ABC Local: Puerto Rican Day Parade 2010 NYC
- Time Out NY: National Puerto Rican Day Parade 2011
- NY Magazine; Watching the Parade-Watchers; Maruxa Relaño Tennent ; June 18, 2007
- "Wall Street Journal"; Puerto Rico, The 51st State?; John Fund; May 13, 2010
- DC Productions/Photodisc/Getty Images