Rumbling cheers and blaring music literally shook Midtown as the 33rd annual march kicked off Sunday afternoon. Flag-waving spectators who cheered and sang along as colorful floats passed by replaced the normal hoards of bustling commuters. Dancers – young and old – also showed off their moves, twirling in their colorful dresses and preforming in traditional character costumes.
At the helm of the massive march was New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo. Speaking to reporters as he made his way down the parade route, Cuomo said: “What makes New York so special is its beautiful diversity … The Dominican community is one of the largest growing in the state.”
And federal census statistics back him up. According to the latest available figures, more than 600,000 Dominicans live in New York City. That’s more than any other city in the world – other than Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.
Though the mood remained festive – and police reported no major incidents – security remained tight. Hundreds of officers kept a watchful eye as the fans cheered and waved flags, often leaning over barricades for giveaways thrown from floats. The police barriers stretched along Sixth Avenue from 37th Street to Central Park. Among the specialized officers spotted along the parade route were cops from the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Bureau, Canine Unit and specially trained officers with assault rifles.
Though the cops were also partaking in the festivities with a few officers waving Dominican flags and cheering alongside the parade-goers. Other city workers also joined in with a large MTA bus sporting a Dominican flag. Among the revelers at this year’s parade were New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, State Senator Adriano Espillat and former assemblyman Guilermo Linares and ex-councilman Robert Jackson.