New York City’s National Puerto Rican Day Parade honors Puerto Rican Americans on the second Sunday in June with a parade up Fifth Avenue. The 2015 parade runs from 44th St to 79th St on June 14, 2015 from 11am-6pm.
Puerto Rican-American Culture
About the Puerto Rican Day Parade
La Banda de Conciertos Puerto Rico performance for the NYC Puerto Rican Day Parade
Hoy todos somos Boricua! (Today we are all Puerto Rican!). New York Puerto Ricans are very proud of our heritage. Take your Puerto Rican flag and wave it a lot!
About Puerto Rican New York City
There have been several waves of Puerto Rican immigration to New York City starting in the mid-1800s when Puerto Rico was a Spanish colony. A second wave came after the Spanish-American War in 1898 made Puerto Rico part of the United States. Puerto Ricans became U.S. American citizens in 1917. The growth of air travel led to the “Great Migration” of the 1950s when almost ten percent of New Yorkers had a Puerto Rican heritage.
Puerto Rican Americans moved to the Bronx, El Barrio or Spanish Harlem in East Harlem, and Loisada in the Lower East Side. There was tremendous street life unlike anything that exists today. Kids played stickball, a street version of baseball, with a broom handle. The drums never stopped. Every little bar had live music. You couldn’t avoid Puerto Rican culture even if you wanted to.
These were the glory days of Latin Jazz and ballroom culture. In Manhattan the Palladium Ballroom at 53rd and Broadway became the first club where Anglos, Latins, and Blacks were allowed to mix together. The only thing that mattered was how well you danced. Movie stars like Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis Jr., used to sit on the floor with everyone else. The close proximity to the Jazz clubs on 52nd street led to one of the main fusions of Latin and Jazz music.
The Big Three bands at the Palladium Ballroom were Machito (Cuban), Tito Puente (New York Puerto Rican), and Tito Rodriguez (Puerto Rican). The Mambo Craze that swept our country in 1948 started at the Palladium Ballroom and was quickly followed by the Cha,Cha,Cha.
What became popularly known as Salsa was Cuban dance music played mostly by New Yorkers with a Puerto Rican heritage. Salsa went global in the 1970s out of New York City. You used to have Machito, Tito Puente, and Dizzy Gillespie jamming on the street for free.
Puerto Ricans have long been New York City’s dominant Hispanic culture, although in 2013 Dominicans became the majority Hispanic culture in New York City. Even so Puerto Rican culture will always be part of New York City’s DNA.