Thousands march in first Puerto Rican Day Parade since COVID

The city’s iconic Puerto Rican Day Parade returned to its full rambunctious self on Sunday after a two-year COVID hiatus, drawing a crowd of thousands, including Mayor Eric Adams and other local law enforcement officers.

A beaming Adams, flanked by City Department of Transportation’s Ydanis Rodriguez, walked the East Side of Manhattan waves a Puerto Rican flag while wearing a matching white shirt and hat with the flag on it.

Thousands of revelers decked out in Puerto Rican colors also braved the rainy weather to start around 11 a.m. at Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street and walk north to 79th Street.

United States Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, the son of Puerto Rican parents, was the grand marshal of the parade.

“¡Viva Puerto Rico!” Adams’ official mayor’s account tweeted† “A little rain didn’t stop the largest Puerto Rican population outside of La Isla del Encanto itself from taking to the streets to show their pride!”

Mayor Eric Adams marches in the Puerto Rican Day Parade on June 12, 2022.
Stephen Yang
Sunday's Puerto Rican Day Parade was the first in New York City since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sunday’s Puerto Rican Day Parade was the first in New York City since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
James Keivom
Government Kathy Hochul holds an umbrella with a Puerto Rican flag during the parade.
Government Kathy Hochul holds an umbrella with a Puerto Rican flag during the parade.
Stephen Yang
People lined the parade route in Manhattan to celebrate Puerto Rican heritage.
People lined the parade route in Manhattan to celebrate Puerto Rican heritage.
James Keivom

Among the New York politicians who took part in the march were Governor Kathy Hochul, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Congresswoman Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Attorney General Letitia James, Adams’ predecessor and congressional candidate Bill de Blasio, contender for New York’s 10th Congress and councilor Carlina Rivera, president of the city council Adrienne Adams, and New York Secretary of State and former councilor Robert Rodriguez.

Sunday’s parade was the first major celebration since 2019 from the 8 million Puerto Ricans living on the island and elsewhere, as the event, which has been held since April 1958, was scaled back significantly in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus.

On Friday, Adam raised the Puerto Rican flag at Bowling Green Park in Downtown Manhattan to celebrate the return of the full-fledged personal parade.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James waves to the crowd during the parade.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James waves to the crowd during the parade.
Stephen Yang
Rep.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez marches along the parade route.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez marches along the parade route.
Stephen Yang
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer with a Puerto Rican flag in the parade.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer with a Puerto Rican flag in the parade.
Stephen Yang

“This town says: ‘My house your house. This is your city. This is our city,” he said. “And we’re here together. And this is an important moment. I’m looking forward to this weekend.

“It’s just a powerful moment that the Puerto Rican community has played an important role in building this city [on] so many levels.”

President of the Board of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Louis Maldonado, said in May, “This is a landmark year for the parade, and our return to Fifth Avenue is another sign that [the city] and the Puerto Rican community is strong, resilient and vibrant as ever,”

Governor candidate Rep.  Tom Suozzi riding in the back seat of a convertible during the parade.
Governor candidate Rep. Tom Suozzi riding in the back seat of a convertible during the parade.
Stephen Yang
A woman dressed in a traditional costume in the Puerto Rican Day Parade.
A woman dressed in a traditional costume in the Puerto Rican Day Parade.
James Keivom
Rep.  Adriano Espaillat waves a flag during the parade.
Rep. Adriano Espaillat waves a flag during the parade.
Stephen Yang
A person in costume in the Puerto Rican Day Parade.
A person in costume in the Puerto Rican Day Parade.
James Keivom
Former Mayor Bill de Blasio makes his appearance during the parade.
Former Mayor Bill de Blasio makes his appearance during the parade.
Stephen Yang
A woman shows off her Puerto Rican flag dress during the parade.
A woman shows off her Puerto Rican flag dress during the parade.
Stephen Yang

Yarimar Bonilla, of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at CUNY, told WNYC, “There is so much healing we need to do after this pandemic that has caused so much stress.

“We need these community events to celebrate ourselves and remind ourselves of who we are and what we can be when we come together.”

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