Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May) celebrates the Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, during the French invasion of Mexico. Many of us think we are celebrating Mexican Independence Day, but that is September 16.
Cinco de Mayo in New York City 2019
The next Cinco de Mayo is Sunday, May 5, 2019.
Cinco de Mayo in New York City 2018
Chavela is screening Friday, May 4 in Sunset Park in Sunset Park, Brooklyn at 8 pm.
The Cinco de Mayo Parade is Sunday, May 6 in Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Cinco de Mayo in New York City 2017
Mariachi Flor de Toloache releases a new single Dulces Recuerdos from their upcoming album, Las Caras Lindas.
Mexican Cultural Celebrations
Calpulli Mexican Dance Company gives a family performance at the Museum of the City of New York in East Harlem on Friday, May 5 at 2pm. The show for young children is from 3-4pm, promptly. Calpulli is the best!
NYC Parks is hosting a Cinco de Mayo community celebration at Fifth Ave and 43rd St at Sunset Park in Sunset Park, Brooklyn on Friday, May 5, from 4-7pm. New York City Council Member Carlos Menchaca hosts Mexican actress and singer Blanca Marroquín and Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl.
Asociación Tepeyac de New York is hosting a Cinco de Mayo Parade in El Barrio on Sunday, May 7. It meets in Central Park at Central Park West and 106th Street at 12noon and goes until 3pm.
There is a Cinco de Mayo Parade in Sunset Park Brooklyn on Sunday, May 7. It marches down 5th Ave from 60th St to 43rd St from 12-2pm. The Parade is followed by a community festival.
Eating and Drinking
Cinco de Mayo makes most New Yorkers think of marguaritas, guacamole, and Mexican food.
Great Taco Stand
Try Los Tacos No. 1 in Chelsea Market. No seating, but the long line shows that the reasonably-priced food is worth it.
Los Tacos No. 1
75 9th Ave
(between 15th & 16th St)
11am – 9pm
Try Empellón Cocina in the East Village. They offer great tasting menus.
105 1st Avenue
(between 6th & 7th St)
Cosme in the Flatiron District serves Mexican chic.
35 East 21st St
(between Park & Fifth Ave)
12-2:30pm and 5:30pm-midnight
Toloache is a popular Mexican outpost with a great selection.
251 West 50th St
(between Eighth Ave & Broadway)
11:30am – midnight
Upper East Side
166 East 82nd St
(between Lexington & Third)
205 Thompson Street
(between Bleecker & West 3rd)
11:30am – midnight
Upscale with a Slick Terrace
Richard Sandoval’s Pampano is an upscale service.
209 East 49th St
(between Second & Third Ave)
11:30am-2:30pm & 5:30-10pm
A Tequila Library
The flights at La Biblioteca are romantic and memorable. You can even get a locker to keep your own bottle of fine tequila.
La Biblioteca (in Zengo)
622 Third Ave
Cinco de Mayo 1862
When Mexican President stopped making foreign interest payments in 1861, the French, Spanish, and British sent naval forces to blockade Veracruz, the main Mexican Caribbean port.
All along, the French planned to reestablish themselves in the Americas by taking over Mexico and using it as a base to support the Confederacy in America’s Civil War.
The French Army was the greatest force of the day. It was a bit like the U.S. Marines are now. But on May 5, French forces suffered a shocking defeat outside Puebla, a town on the road to the capital Mexico City.
That is what the city of Puebla celebrates today, but Americans of the United States have a reason to celebrate too.
The defeat at Puebla forced the French to retreat and wait for reinforcements. They weren’t able to take Puebla and Mexico City for another year. That gave Union forces time to gain strength against the Confederacy. A French victory in the first Battle of Puebla could have changed the course of our own Civil War.