Manhattan won’t be the only place to show off Puerto Rican pride.
After over 20 years, Sunset Park will receive its own Puerto Rican Day Parade. Community organization El Grito de Sunset Park recently announced that it had received the permit from the city for the event, which will allow the neighborhood and its residents to celebrate their culture on Sunday, June 14 at 5 p.m., following the annual parade in Manhattan.
This year’s celebration marks the first parade of its kind in Sunset since the 1980s.
“This parade is a resolution,” said organizer of the parade and founder of El Grito de Sunset Park Dennis Flores. “We are creating a space and an event for people to celebrate while still being safe. People of Fifth Avenue have been waiting to celebrate.”
The festivities will begin at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street and will conclude at 8:30 p.m. so Sunset residents can enjoy both parades. The day will honor Puerto Rican culture through live music, arts and the Afro-Puerto Rican traditions of Bomba y Plena as well as the participation of artists, local businesses and community organizations in Sunset Park. “We have a lot of cultural artists support by coming and bands,” said Flores. “It will be like a carnival with lot of colors.”
Organizers hope to have about 100 marshals with white shirts and caps, holding Puerto Rican flags.
Flores is impressed with the reception the parade’s return has received thus far. “We’ve been getting positive responses from thousands of people the last couple of days,” he said. “People are putting money into it. Local businesses and organizations are stepping up to make sure that this is successful and that it’s done right. It’s humbling and I didn’t expect draw type of support.”
Although many Sunset Park residents are excited for the return of the parade, bringing it back to the neighborhood was a struggle that included political roadblocks, according to Flores.
“It came with a lot of headaches,” he said, stating that permit requests have been denied for years. “What prevailed was being strategic. We had the right to organize parades.” With the help of lawyer Norman Siegel, the permit was finally granted.
“This will be a day of great pride for all Sunset Parkers. We all owe Dennis Flores great thank you for making this happen,” said Tony Giordano, the creator of the Sunset Parker Facebook page, on his site.
Those interested in participating and helping to organize this parade can email ElGritoDeSunsetPark@gmail.com. For more information on the parade, visit the official Facebook page of El Grito de Sunset Park.