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New York Prepares For The National Puerto Rican Day Parade
Published June 4, 2007

By Teena Moseley

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City, one of the largest outdoor events in the U.S, will be lead this year by Grammy Award and Latin Grammy Award-winner Ricky Martin.

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade up Fifth Avenue from 44th to 86th Streets in New York City is a much anticipated annual celebration of Puerto Rican culture in the United States. Grammy Award and Latin Grammy Award-winner Ricky Martin has been named King and will help lead the parade. Held June 10, the parade is attended by an average of more than 2 million people along its route, making it one of the largest outdoor events in the U.S. The Parade is certainly the most visible aspect of the celebration of the culture and heritage of the Puerto Rican people, but it is not the only event associated with The National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc.'s activities.

In the days leading up to the big event, more than 10,000 people attend a variety of parade-related award ceremonies, banquets and cultural events, which began at the end of May this year. Highlights include both the Annual Gala Banquet and the Official Parade Eve dance Baile de Pueblo at the New York City Marriott Marquis Hotel (June 8), and the Brooklyn Musical festival at McCarren Park in Brooklyn (June 9). Kicking off this weekend’s musical events will be a free concert, the Tropical Night at the South Street Seaport at Pier 17 on the South Street Seaport Stage on Thursday, June 7 from 5:00 pm to 9 pm. It will feature a special tribute to The Legends of Fania, a legendary record company headed by the late Jerry Masucci, presenting Adalberto Santiago, Nicky Marrero, Dave Valetine, Yomo Toro and Gilberto " El Pulpo" Colon as well as special appearances by the young stars of today: Michael Stuart, The Boyz del Barrio and Xiomara. The events continue up until the Parade in New York City.

Beginning in 1958, the National Puerto Rican Day Parade has long since been a New York tradition that unites New Yorkers as it celebrates the outstanding contributions of the Puerto Rican people to the history and diversity of New York City. The first New York Puerto Rican Day Parade was held in Spanish Harlem or "El Barrio" in Manhattan. Amongst its founders were José "Chuito" Caballero, Peter Ortiz, Luisa Quintero, Victor López, Luis Amando Feliciano, Vicente Hernández, Angel M. Arroyo, Atanacio Rivera Feliciano, and Amalio Maisanave Ríos. Its first President was Victor López and it was coordinated by José Caballero. The Grand Marshall was Oscar González Suarez, Esq. Prominent personalities from Puerto Rico headed by then Governor Don Luis Muñoz Marin, attended the initial parade. Several Mayors from Puerto Rico, led by the Mayor of the Municipality of Corozal, Hon. Leo Cabranes also participated.

In 1995, Dr. Ramón S. Vélez, Ralph Morales, María Román and Madelyn Lugo decided it was time to expand this event to the national scene, and formed National Puerto Rican Day Parade Inc. to remind Puerto Ricans throughout the country of their heritage and to foster the positive image of their people. Within four years, the parade included the participation of delegations from 31 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. The National Puerto Rican Day Parade is now the successor to the New York Puerto Rican Day Parade, which operated for 38 consecutive years (starting in 1958).

Like its predecessor, The National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. was established to create a national awareness and appreciation of Puerto Rican culture and its contribution to the culture and society of the United States. In addition, it promotes the study, improvement, and advancement of Puerto Rican culture and the arts by encouraging, promoting, coordinating, developing, managing and participating in various cultural events, including musical productions, plays art exhibits, and the conduct of parades in the City of New York and throughout the United States.

The Parade, televised for three hours, achieves the highest Nielsen rating for stations in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area. More than 80,000 participants march with delegations from the towns of Pue