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Millions gather for 54th annual Puerto Rican Day parade


amny Credit: RJ Mickelson/amNY

Nearly 2 million revelers gathered along a red, white and blue-covered Fifth Avenue yesterday to celebrate the Puerto Rican Day parade, a touchtone of pride for New York Puerto Ricans, Gotham’s largest Hispanic group.

The theme for the parade’s 54th year was "celebrating the national beauty of Puerto Rico," trying to educate people about preserving the island.

"My boys are looking forward to their first Puerto Rican Day parade," said Jaran Manzanet Jr., of the Bronx, who drove a 1929 Mercedes in the parade with his twin 10-year-old boys.

Of course, politics and the parade are always entwined, and joining the revelry were politicians such as Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Chuck Schumer.

The parade, in which a reported 80,000 people marched, was led by grand marshals by Robert and Carlos Unanue, cousins who run Goya foods.

Comedian John Leguizamo also was on hand as the parade's global ambassador to the arts, as were baseball Hall-of-Famer Roberto Alomar, legendary salsa band El Gran Combo and folk singer Antonio Caban Vale.


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