So the Puerto Rican Day Parade passed and I was super honored to have been a part of the occasion.
Let me refresh your memory. I hated the Puerto Rican Day Parade and wrote about it on my page, you can read all about it here. I pitched my essay to ¡Capicú Culture! who picked me to be part of their social media team during the parade. Let me start of by saving that the anxiety for what would happen the day of the parade was beyond crazy.
I arrived early and was amazed at the amount of people already there, at 8am the streets were covered with families! I saw so many families and people dressed up.
I check in at our float, that had the honor of hosting the beautiful Rosario Dawson aboard, and then I proceeded to check out the other floats. In all of my years in NYC, I had never seen this amount of decorated floats and closed streets, it was pretty cool. The amounts of color and music and just joy was very exciting.
I kept getting anxiety about the start of the parade and then Rosario Dawson came over. She was beyond lovely. Taking pictures with fans and so excited about being at the parade where she was Queen. When she arrived I noticed she came with her mom. My focus as part of the social media team was families and it was great that Rosario brought her mom with her. Growing up the Parade was part of their lives and they celebrated together, so it was a commemoration for their family tradition. But not only was her mom there, her grandmother also came. Three generations of women celebrating that day, to me is the definition of tradition. And I LOVE TRADITION. It’s really one of the reason we celebrate a lot of things like this Parade and even things like Thanksgiving.
The Parade started and I have to be honest, I had never seen such sight. The avenue lined up with my flag. I don’t think one can really get an idea of the feeling of pride that burns inside when you see that many flags. When I see it on TV is so different than being there, present in the moment. The spirit of celebration, the atmosphere was definitely a happy and proud one.
I started seeing the families. I didn’t think the parade would be such a family event. I know, as a mom I’m always weary of where I take my kids because of crowds and such. The kids were waving flags and dressed up in the red, white and blue. Stars were everywhere. Kids, even babies are experiencing one of the most monumental events in the city of New York. I mean if this is not huge, I don’t know what is. I finally understood my friends who have celebrated the parade since children. It is pretty cool to be there and see that many flags and the Vejigantes, listen to the music, see the things that make us who we are. Even the batuteras (majorettes) de Guaynabo (the city I lived in for most of my life) were at the parade.
On a personal level, I have to admit that I was beyond belief. I was at the Puerto Rican Day Parade for the first time- MARCHING IN THE PARADE. Going down 5th Ave, it was INSANE-in the good way. It was really special and I can’t believe I walked 30 blocks that were covered in Puerto Rican flag. I saw a different New York, for a day I only felt I was back in my Island with my people.
I was scared to ask kids about the parade out of respect to the their parents. But one kid, around 6 years old, was having the time of his life until I pointed the camera at him! I asked him what he was feeling being at the parade, he just smiled and waved the flag at me. I understood him.
I noticed that there were kids of all ages and I was happy because it gave me a sense of security about bringing my kids in the future. When the parade was over I spoke to a woman named Olga Rodriguez and she told me that the reason she brought the kids to the parade. She said she wants her kids and grandkids to learn about Puerto Rican culture and history, and the parade was part of that culture and history.
I have to say walking the parade as part of the Parade and walking back through the crowds was very different. The view is different and the environment is different. I am not going to sugar-coated and say it was amazing. I was scared and had major anxiety, mostly because I have a lot of anxiety when there are large crowds gathered and I had to do it multiple times as a lot of the cross walks were closed. There were people selling food, like pasteles and icees. There was music and dancing and good times. Just too much for me. I am not a party girl a lot and rather be around small groups of people. So if you want to go to the parade and have more space to move around, park yourself around 70th street, which is almost the end.
So I am going to say that my view of the parade definitely changed.
I really do have a whole new set of feelings towards the parade. I am proud to have been part of the parade, I love that the Puerto Rican community has this outlet to bring a message not only to NYC but to the whole country. It is a day where we are seen and heard and we celebrate our pride.