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Puerto Rican Day Parade revamps celebration to emphasize culture
The National Puerto Rican Day Parade returns this Sunday with a few changes in store.
The revamped march, now in its 57th year, promises to focus less on corporate sponsors and more on Puerto Rican heritage, according to board chair Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez.
Updates include a new mandate that all floats have a cultural theme, in response to criticism that past floats were too commercialized.
The parade organizers have also increased student scholarship award money from $10,000 to $30,000 and will hold a food drive to benefit needy families.
These changes are the result of an effort to incorporate "more of a community feel, bringing in many more voices, introducing innovation and championing critical causes," Cortes- Vazquez said in a statement.
Behind the scenes there have been changes, too, after a recent investigation by the state attorney general's office uncovered years of mismanagement of parade funds and resulted in the removal of several longtime board members in February.
Cortes-Vazquez predicted that this year's parade will not only attract the city's Puerto Rican community, which 2010 U.S. Census figures put at more than 720,000 -- the largest Puerto Rican population outside of Puerto Rico -- but also New Yorkers of all backgrounds.
"The work we have done has truly been a rescue mission for this long-standing, beloved and iconic cultural institution," Cortes- Vazquez said in a statement.
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will lead 10,000 marchers as the grand marshals for the parade, which runs up Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 79th Street.
Sunday at 11 a.m.
Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 79th Street
Grand Marshals: Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
Queen: Rosie Perez
King: Rene Perez Joglar
Madrina: Lauren Velez
Padrino: Polita Vega
Lifetime Achievement Award: Miriam Colon
Rising Star: Jorge Vega
Ambassadors: Luis Fonsi, Frankie Negron, Jorge Viera, Jorge Ramos, Yolandita Monge, George Lamond