It seemed as though everyone was Puerto Rican on Sunday along New York City’s Fifth Avenue. That’s because the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade made its presence known, roaring its way down the streets with cheerful shouts of "Boricua!" and a sea of red, white, and blue.
We swung by to observe the proud madness firsthand. Below are some interesting people we met along the parade route:
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Angel Reyes, who said he was “mas o menos 78 [more of less 78 years old], ambled his way to the parade with a cane. The Puerto Rican man used to attend this parade, and other parades in Jersey City where he currently lives, with his wife. But she died four years ago. “After that, I stayed alone,” Reyes said. “We went to all the parades together… we had so much fun.” Asked what he most looked forward to at this year’s parade, Reyes kept it simple: “Happiness… and the orchestras.”
Linda Latorre stopped by the Puerto Rican Day Parade with her husband and two daughters. The 48-year-old from Paterson, N.J. had fun at the parade – but not as much fun as the family’s dog, Molly. “Everyone was getting affectionate with my dog,” Latorre said with a laugh, in reference to her adorably clueless Maltese. “It was my husband’s idea to bring her along.”
17-year-old Jessica Delgado stood with a group of her friends, all drowning in Puerto Rican paraphernalia (herself included). "Well... I'm Puerto Rican so I gotta show love to my peoples," the Brooklyn-bred high school senior said about attending the annual parade. "I came with my family and friends." Her hyped group of friends insisted on a group photo, and it was evident from Delgado's poses what her career dream is. "I want to be a model," she said, her eyes lighting up.
Jannise Ortiz and Carmen Montero
Jannise Ortiz and Carmen Montero were all smiles and laughter at the Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday. Both originally from Puerto Rico, the best friends had traveled together all the way from Connecticut to join the festivities. "I feel really good," 34-year-old Ortiz said in Spanish about being at the parade for the first time. Asked what her fave part of the day was so far, 39-year-old Montero said "La gritadera [the screaming]!" Before she continued, Montero abruptly said, "Hold on!" and focused her camera on a group of handsome New York City police officers, who strolled their way down the parade route. Montero exchanged a look with her friend, brows raised. The two exchanged more laughter.
Eric Castro came solo to the parade; he said he works around Fifth Ave. and wanted to see his people. The shirtless 25-year-old had tattoos all over his body, including one on his left arm that told the story of his upbringing. Born in Carolina, Puerto Rico to Dominican parents (and raised partly in the Bronx), Castro said his parents moved to Puerto Rico because “they wanted a better life.” But being raised partly in Puerto Rico doesn’t make him any more Puerto Rican. “I identify with both,” he said firmly.
Agustin Maldonado, originally from Puerto Rico, was hustling on Sunday. The 38-year-old stood on a sidewalk with a cart filled with Puerto Rican paraphernalia just blocks away from the parade. The cart was filled with T-shirts, bandanas, flags, hats – all covered with the Puerto Rican flag. Maldonado, who blew a whistle to ring in more customers, said he tries to sell paraphernalia every year; the extra cash helps provide for his family. “All sorts of people buy this – white Americans, Chinese, blacks,” he said. “Everybody feels Puerto Rican today!”