New York City’s largest Latino populations came out in full force to celebrate the city’s annual Dominican Day Parade Sunday.
Thousands of flag-waving and flag-wearing paradegoers of all ages packed Sixth Avenue from West 36th to West 51st streets, dancing, cheering and taking in the sights and sounds of dozens of music-blaring floats and costumed dancers.
“New York City is such a Spanish city, I don’t know where else they could even have this parade,” said Donna Salvador, a 47-year-old from Brooklyn. “I can’t see this many people coming out anywhere else in the world, maybe not even in the D.R.”
The celebration was led by grand marshal Pedro Martinez, a former pitcher for the Mets. It included politicians as well, such as Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who called the parade one of his favorites.
“It is great community,” Cuomo said.”It is a community that has embraced New York.”
Floats with sponsors such as Univision, CUNY and Goya blasted music from reggaeton to electronic. Colorfully masked carnival dancers drew cheers from crowds on the ground and leaning out of windows along the route.
Luz Colon, a 34-year-old from the Bronx, watched the parade with her 2-year-old son Javier on her shoulders.
“I bring my son because I want him to see what he’s from, where he’s from. Just because he wasn’t born in the Dominican Republic doesn’t mean he’s any less Dominican,” she said. “This is a way to show him how we party, how we celebrate who we are.”
Parade organizers this year chose to honor five Dominican actresses from the Netflix show “Orange Is The New Black” as the parade’s “rising stars.” The actresses, including Dascha Polanco and Jessica Pimentel, rode on a float as honorees.
Bronx native Olga Dolor, 35, said it was an important day to celebrate heritage and its place in the city.
“We’re reminding everybody else in the city that we’re here and we’re proud,” she said. “You see people of every color out here to wave flags and catch t-shirts but this is for us, to be together and be loud about being Dominicanos.”