Puerto Rican Day Parade

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Puerto Rican Day Parade
(also known as the National Puerto Rican Day Parade)
Frequency2nd Sunday of June
VenueFifth Avenue, Borough of Manhattan
Location(s)New York City, New York
CountryUnited States
Next eventJune 9, 2019
SponsorNational Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. (since 1995)
Websitenprdpinc.org, official website of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc.

The Puerto Rican Day Parade (also known as the National Puerto Rican Day Parade) takes place annually in the United States along Fifth Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York. The parade is held on the second Sunday in June, in honor of the nearly four million inhabitants of Puerto Rico and all people of Puerto Rican birth or heritage residing in the mainland U.S.

The parade attracts many celebrities, both Puerto Rican and of Puerto Rican heritage, and many politicians from the Tri-State area.

The parade marches along Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 86th Street and has grown to become one of the largest parades in New York City, with nearly two million spectators annually making it one of the largest outdoor events in the United States.[1] Although the largest Puerto Rican cultural parade is in New York City, other cities with large Puerto Rican populations also have notable Puerto Rican parades and festivals, such as Philadelphia,[2] Chicago,[3] and Boston.[4]


Frankie Cutlass at the Puerto Rican Day Parade 2006
Ricky Martin as the parade's King in 2007

The first Puerto Rican Day Parade was held on Sunday, April 13, 1958, in Manhattan, replacing the former Hispanic Day Parade. This move, part of the mission of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York (esp., Cardinal Spellman and Ivan Illich) represented a shift away from earlier attempts at "Yankeefication" toward culturally specific expressions based on traditional fiestas patronales.[5] In 1995, the parade became incorporated as the National Puerto Rican Day Parade and expanded beyond the parade venue itself. The parade now hosts over seven major events throughout the city.

There are dozens of other events that also take place the weekend of the parade that are not sponsored by the National Parade's corporation. One of the longest running is the street fair held one day prior to the parade. Though the size has changed over the years the heart of the parade has always been at 116th Street between Lexington and Second Avenues. In addition to the parade in New York City, there are currently over fifty smaller parades that take place throughout the United States.

The parade has attracted many New York politicians including mayor Michael Bloomberg, former mayor Rudy Giuliani, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator Charles Schumer, as well as many political candidates running for office and looking for voters in local, state and national elections. In recent years, the parade has honored several Puerto Rican celebrities by naming them "International Grand Marshal" of the parade including singer Marc Anthony, who participated in the parade along with his ex-wife Jennifer Lopez, and Ricky Martin in 2007 and 2010.[6]

In 2009, organizers selected internationally recognized telenovela actor Osvaldo Ríos, as the parade's "Special Guest Star".

In addition to a National Grand Marshal, a variety of honorees are named for the parade, with titles such as "King", "National Ambassador of La Salsa", and "National Godmother".[7] In June 2004, Puerto Rican rapper Ivy Queen was designated as the "Puerto Rico Youth Godmother" of the parade.[8] Others to be given such titles include Wisin & Yandel and Willie Colón.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

Scene from the 2011 parade

The parade itself has been featured in an episode of the NBC situation comedy Seinfeld titled "The Puerto Rican Day". In it, Jerry Seinfeld, George Costanza, Elaine Benes, and Cosmo Kramer get stuck in a traffic jam as a result of the parade. Due to controversy relating to a scene in which Kramer accidentally burns and then stomps on a Puerto Rican flag and is chased by a mob of angry Puerto Ricans, NBC refused to air the episode again.[9] The episode was also withheld from syndication as a result, but has been shown sparingly in syndicated repeats since 2002 and has been released on DVD along with all of the sitcom's episodes.

The parade was portrayed in a negative aspect following the controversial 2000 parade in a 2001 episode of the long-running NBC crime series Law & Order titled "Sunday in the Park with Jorge". Before the National Puerto Rican Coalition protested the episode, network executives issued an apology. The company also made a pledge to "improve our procedures regarding sensitive programming issues".[10]

The 1994, Latin American literary classic Empire of Dreams by Giannina Braschi staged a revolution on the Puerto Rican Day Parade.[11]

The parade has been referenced on the Tru TV show Impractical Jokers within multiple episodes, satirically introduced as a joke about castmember Sal Vulcano's heritage, which is Cuban, but often mistaken for Mexican or Puerto Rican.


New York Giants players Victor Cruz and Frankie Cutlass march in the 2014 parade

During recent years, the presence of gangs such as the Latin Kings, the Bloods and the Crips have been recorded at the event.[12] Following the parade on June 11, 2000, a number of women were harassed, robbed and sexually assaulted by mobs of young men in and about Central Park.[13] The attacks, which were videotaped by onlookers, led to the arrest and prosecution of many of those involved.

Manuel Vargas, a Dominican American who was a suspected ringleader, was quoted by the press as saying he "was just having fun."[14]

In June 2010, controversy arose after organizers selected telenovela actor Osvaldo Ríos, who served three months in a Puerto Rican prison in 2004 for assaulting his former girlfriend after a domestic-violence incident as the parade's "International Godfather". Many confirmed participants such as U.S. Representative Luis Guiterrez and corporate sponsors such as Verizon withdrew their participation and endorsements due to his controversial past. After mounting pressure from both the media, politicians, public officials, and domestic violence organizations, Rios decided to not attend the parade after discussing the matter with his children and U.S. Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez. He was replaced at the last minute by singer Marc Anthony, who was accompanied by his then wife Jennifer Lopez.[15]

In past interviews, actor and comedian John Leguizamo had always claimed Puerto Rican ancestry via his father's side, which was one of the reasons that he was selected as the 2011 Puerto Rican Day Parade Global Ambassador of the Arts. On June 10, 2011, Leguizamo's father, Albert, declared in an interview published in El Diario La Prensa, the largest Spanish-language newspaper in New York, that he was not Puerto Rican - but rather, of Colombian ancestry. This contradicted his son's past claims of Puerto Rican ancestry.[16] In response to his father's allegations, Leguizamo stated in an interview that his grandfather was of Puerto Rican descent.[17]

A spokesman for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade stated that despite his shifting ancestry, Leguizamo would not be stripped of his ambassadorship, and would be allowed to participate in the June 2011 parade.[18]

Albizu Campos[edit]

The theme of the 2015 parade had a strong historical focus. The year 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Pedro Albizu Campos, who spent 25 years in prison and dedicated his entire life to the independence of Puerto Rico.[19]

Oscar López Rivera[edit]

2017 parade organizers chose to honor Oscar López Rivera, who was one of the leaders of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) which the FBI classified as a terrorist organization,[20] but who others considered a freedom fighter for the Puerto Rican cause for independence.[21][22] As a result of López Rivera being honored, Goya Foods[23] chose not be a parade sponsor, and Jet Blue[24] dropped their sponsorship as well. New York City Police Department's Hispanic Society[25] did not march, as well as NYPD's Gay Officer Action League and NYPD Police Commissioner James O'Neill. Additional sponsors to withdraw from the parade include Coca-Cola,[24] AT&T,[23] and the New York Yankees.[25] Puerto Rican salsa singer Willie Colón criticized the parade organizers as having gone too far,[26] while six-time Grammy Award-winning Puerto Rican salsa singer Gilberto Santa Rosa himself led[27] the parade procession.[24][23]

After public and corporate backlash, Mayor de Blasio had announced that López Rivera would not be honored at the 2017 parade[28] as López Rivera wished to keep the focus on Puerto Rico rather than himself.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2007 National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York - Schedule of National & NY Events". Latin Rapper. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  2. ^ "Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade — visitphilly.com". Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  3. ^ "口コミで話題のクレジットカード現金化サイト". www.prpcchicago.org. Archived from the original on September 9, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  4. ^ Nova-Salcedo, Yadires. "Puerto Rican Festival of Massachusetts 2014". Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  5. ^ http://solidarityhall.org/ivan-illichs-politics-of-carnival/
  6. ^ a b Santos, Fernanda (June 12, 2006). "Swaying, and Marching, to a Latin Beat". The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  7. ^ "National - เทคนิคพนันบอล". www.nationalpuertoricandayparade.org. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  8. ^ Press release (June 3, 2004). "Reggeton Diva Ivy Queen Announces Her Tour Calendar for the Month of June". Perfect Image Records (via PRWeb). Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  9. ^ Hogarty, Dave (June 9, 2007). "Puerto Rican Day Parade This Sunday". Gothamist. Archived from the original on May 21, 2011. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 30, 2001). "'Law' Producer Says NBC Caved: Criticizes Apology over Puerto Rican Episode". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  11. ^ Remeseira, Claudio (June 10, 2012). "Puerto Rican Day Parade". Hispanic New York. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  12. ^ (June 12, 2007). 208 "Arrested at Puerto Rican Day Parade, An Increase". The New York Times.
  13. ^ (June 14, 2000). "More Women, Girls Tell of Attacks by Mob of Men in New York". CNN (via destee.com).
  14. ^ (June 17, 2000). "Suspect Just 'Having Fun'". Daily News.
  15. ^ (June 8, 2010). "Soap Star Osvaldo Rios Quits as Puerto Rican Parade 'Godfather' over His History of Violence". Daily News.
  16. ^ "Leguizamo's Dad: John's Not Puerto Rican!". Fox News Latino.
  17. ^ Gratereaux, Alexandra (June 10, 2011). "Leguizamo's Dad: John's Not Puerto Rican!". Fox News Latino. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  18. ^ "Huge Crowd for Puerto Rican Parade". WABC-TV.
  19. ^ Legrineire, Pedro (June 8, 2014). "Desfile Destaca a Nuestro Gran Liberador". El Universal de Hoy.
  20. ^ "Puerto Rico Militant Leader Emerges From 36 Years in Custody". US News and World Report. May 17, 2017. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  21. ^ A Puerto Rican nationalist seen as a hero by some and a terrorist by others is set to be freed. Melissa Etehad. Los Angeles Times. 16 May 2017. Accessed 13 June 2017.
  22. ^ Obama Grants Clemency To Puerto Rican Fighter Oscar Lopez Rivera. Maria Hijonosa. National Public Radio. 18 January 2017. Accessed 13 June 2017.
  23. ^ a b c "More Corporate Sponsors Abandon Puerto Rican Day Parade". NY Times. May 23, 2017. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  24. ^ a b c More sponsors pull out of New York’s Puerto Rican Day parade. Associated Press. 23 May 2017. Accessed 13 June 2017.
  25. ^ a b "Yankees among groups to boycott New York City's Puerto Rican Day Parade". USA Today. May 23, 2017. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  26. ^ Backlash Over Plans to Honor Puerto Rican Militant at Parade: Despite backlash organizers of New York City's Puerto Rican parade are sticking with their decision to honor a freed militant who once embraced armed resistant to U.S. ruled of Puerto Rico. Colleen Long. Associated Press. 22 May 2017. Accessed 13 June 2017.
  27. ^ National Puerto Rican Day Parade Celebrates 60 Years of Cultural with Legendary Honorees. Broadway World. 3 May 2017. Accessed 12 June 2017.
  28. ^ "Oscar López Rivera Will Not Be Honored at Puerto Rican Day Parade: Mayor". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on July 16, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  29. ^ "Oscar López Rivera speaks". New York Daily News. Retrieved June 2, 2017.

External links[edit]

  • nprdpinc.org, official website of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc.