Thousands line New York City streets for Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade

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Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets Sunday to celebrate the Puerto Rican Day Parade in Midtown.

The parade traveled 35 blocks uptown, featuring dozens of Puerto Rican organizations and groups from the Tri-State Area and beyond.

Spectators and participants tell CBS2’s Shosh Bedrosian the parade reminds them of how important it is to preserve their culture, even if they’re not living on the island.

There was no shortage of music, dancing and pride at the 66th Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.

Nearly 25,000 participants came from near and far to walk in the parade, celebrating achievements of Puerto Rican culture.

“We are waiting for this day,” one Manhattan resident said.

Organizers say nearly 1 million people watched the excitement unfold along the route.

“When you live so far away from your island, you grab to anything that you can to celebrate your people, your culture, so taking it with my daughters,” said Janet, who came from New Jersey to watch the parade.

There was a sea of Puerto Rican flags down Fifth Avenue.

The parade’s themes this year  were music, culture and joy. For so many Puerto Ricans CBS2 spoke to, they say it’s all about preserving who they are and passing it down to future generations.

“We’re trying to keep it alive forever. The flag, we’re real proud of this flag,” said Luis, from Trenton, New Jersey.

Nearly 5 million Puerto Ricans live in the United States, with hundreds of thousands of them living in New York.

Both Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams marched alongside those in the community.

“It’s a beautiful day. It’s a reminder that this is such an extraordinary melting pot, and the people of Puerto Rico have been here for many, many years,” Hochul said.

“I like to say New York is the San Juan of America. It is where everything comes together,” Adams said.

Puerto Ricans in the crowd say the parade also honors how far they’ve come.

“The struggles that we’ve been through. It took us a long time to be here. Even COVID tried to take us away, but we’re back again, and it just makes us feel proud of our heritage, being here again,” said David, who lived in Puerto Rico.

Source: CBS News