Sunday marks the 57th edition of New York’s annual Puerto Rican parade, a conglomerate of floats, marchers, dancers and more that attracts millions of spectators and tens of thousands of participants. Held on the second Sunday in June, the parade is so wildly popular that people anywhere in the vicinity can become ensnared in traffic or other congestion. Here's what you need to know to take part in one of New York’s most jubilant festivities.
Kicking off at 11 a.m. EDT, the parade starts at Fifth Avenue and 44th Street, according to NYCgo.com, and ends at Fifth Avenue and 79th Street. It can last until 6 p.m. This year, more than one million spectators and 10,000 marchers are expected, amNY reported.
The parade celebrates the heritage and identity of Puerto Ricans living in New York, along with the community’s contributions to the city. In 2013, 719,444 Puerto Ricans lived in New York, according to a study by the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies at CUNY.
"It really is an iconic institution for this community," Lorraine Cortes-Vasquez, chairwoman of the parade said, amNY reported. "I think that holding on to our identity and preserving our culture is very important, and that's part of the power of this parade.”
This year, the parade is casting its focus on economic and social issues in Cano Martin Peña, a canal in San Juan. It is also highlighting the case of activist Oscar Lopez Rivera, who is serving a 75-year sentence (he's 34 years in) for his involvement with a Puerto Rican nationalist group.
On a lighter note, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award winner Rita Moreno, who played Anita in West Side Story, will serve as the parade’s Grand Marshall. She is 83 years old, Billboard reports.
Singer Raquel Sofia will perform the Puerto Rican national anthem, as well as some of her songs from her newly released debut album, "Te Quiero Los Domingos." She’ll join a list of distinguished musical artists, including Daddy Yankee and Jennifer Lopez, who have previously performed in the Puerto Rican Day parade.
So much talent – and the fervor the parade has historically drawn – means that getting around could present a few logistical inconveniences for New Yorkers of all kinds.
“This parade is one of the most popular events in NYC, so getting around NYC on this day, especially on the East Side or anywhere near Museum Mile is a challenge,” advises NYC Insider Guide. “Please plan accordingly.”