NYC’s National Puerto Rican Day Parade 2016

It’s been said that New York City has the largest Puerto Rican population outside of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Ricans certainly are significant part of New York City’s cultural diversity and its residents. In fact, in the 2010 U.S. Census almost 9 percent of New York City’s population was Puerto Rican, and the numbers have continued to grow in the past several years. In celebration of New York City’s Puerto Rican residents, the city hosted the 59th annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade on June 12, 2016.


Like in almost all New York City parades, the New York Police Department, New York Fire Department, and various other law enforcement and government agencies marched in the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Often, these agencies’ employees have founded their own Hispanic or Latino cultural associations within their respective agencies.





I particularly liked the vintage police cars and fire engine.




Many local and state politicians participate in the parade as well, including New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio. Mayor de Blasio is the one in the white shirt, a traditional Puerto Rican shirt, and waiving the Puerto Rican flag. I heard some of the parade bystanders react with pride because of his clothing choice. (Members of the New York City Council, the governor of the State of New York, and numerous other political figures also marched.)


But the best parts of the parade were the elements of Puerto Rican culture. There were numerous dance groups and folk characters in costume. There were thousands of red, white, and blue Puerto Rican flags waving in the breeze. Most importantly, there were parade marchers and bystanders enjoying themselves and celebrating their heritage, and the energy was contagious!














This parade has quite a few people marching in support of various political causes and environmental issues in Puerto Rico or in some way involving Puerto Rican people. One of my favorite photos from the parade was of this couple marching with others in opposition to an environmental concern.


The parade travels north along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, from 44th Street to 79th Street. Central Park stretches along the parade route starting at 59th Street, offering welcome shade for bystanders but some challenges for taking good photos at times.

12 thoughts on “NYC’s National Puerto Rican Day Parade 2016

  1. New York loves it parades!. Would have been great to see in person. Love the pic you have with the cops in the background–and hey are leaning on the barrier and having a grand old chat.

    1. We do love our parades – this weekend’s parade is the LGBT pride march, which I think is the largest in the world. It’s interesting that you noticed the police officers. There are always a lot of officers lining the parade route, as the city takes security very seriously. But this parade took place just hours after the terrible massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and New York City was on high alert. I don’t think that I’ve seen so many police officers in one day ever – not just along the parade route but in the subways, etc. It’s interesting how New Yorkers react though. We don’t hide indoors when things happen, but still go out and embrace the world.

    1. The sunlight is nice in some ways, but sometimes make getting good photos difficult because of the shadows! Better than a rainy day for a parade though. We’ve been watching the Brexit vote and its results with interest here. I’m sure there have got to be a lot of anxious feeling there right now.

    1. Well, New Yorkers truly love their parades, even more than other American cities – we definitely get plenty of practice with the many, many parades! (This weekend’s highlight – the world’s largest gay pride march.)

  2. A good-news story about inclusion, at least on one day and in one corner of the day. Great images, especially the last batch showing Puerto Rican culture. I especially love the buxom butterfly.

    1. New York City may not be perfect, but I am regularly encouraged by how much it embraces its diverse citizens. One of the reason why I love the parades so much is that each culture is celebrated. There are always common elements (such as police and fire department participation, and the marching politicians). But they also highlight what makes each culture special and unique. I love the buxom butterfly as well – I loved how women in all of their differences (body shapes, ages, etc.) celebrated without any obvious self-consciousness. It was so much fun to watch!

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