This year’s parade theme is “Puerto Ricans in Higher Education”, highlighting the many achievements of Puerto Ricans in adult and continuing education.
If last year was any indication, expect to see more than 80,000 people marching, and close to 3 million revelers lining the parade route for a major Puerto Rican love-fest.
Although celebrations of Puerto Rican heritage take place in cities across the U.S, New York’s own Puerto Rican Day Parade is, in fact, the city’s largest parade and second biggest public celebration after the Labor Day West Indian American Day Carnival in Brooklyn.
The first NYC Puerto Rican Day Parade was held in Spanish (East) Harlem in Manhattan in 1958, and from its humble beginnings the parade grew to reflect not only a growing number of New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent, but an increased pride in the culture and tradition of Puerto Rico.
This year, the champion New York Giants’ football superstar Victor Cruz will march as Athlete of the Year. Also look for additional celebrity appearances by special guests of honor NBA star Carmelo Anthony, and Javier Colon from NBC’s “The Voice” among many other stars arriving to wow crowds of onlookers.
Puerto Rican Day parade – best viewing
The parade marches along Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 86th Street and includes delegates from various towns of Puerto Rico and U.S. states across the country. Arrive early! The crowds to this annual street party are enormous as Puerto Ricans come out to celebrate their heritage — along with New Yorkers of every stripe happily joining in the fun at Manhattan’s most festive street party.
If arriving from Grand Central, simply make your way several blocks to Fifth Avenue to find a spot along “parade central” in the 40’s to 50’s block area.
Bring a bottle of water, snacks, and a small tote chair if you’re going to be standing for several hours in one spot. Wear your Puerto Rican flag button or T-shirt, wave at the parade marchers and performers …and have fun!
For couch potatoes who prefer to stay home, the spectacle annually receives the highest local Nielsen ratings for stations in the New York area when it is televised for three hours on local channel FOX 5 with afternoon coverage on WOR Channel 9. The parade and related events can also be followed on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and YouTube.