2013 Dominican Day Parade

Dominican pride was in full display at the 32nd annual Dominican Day Parade — thousands proud lined-up on Sixth Avenue to celebrate a rich culture which has become an essential part of New York City.

Mother nature joined in with what can only be described as a perfect parade day; lots of sunshine, 80° weather and rain pushed up to Monday.

Music was at the heart of the parade, as it is in the hearts of all Dominicans. Artists such as; Toño Rosario, Luis Vargas, and the crowned parade king, Mozart La Para brought out some of the largest ovations from the crowd. But it was the music of La Delfi, Radhames Rodriguez and many other live acts that gave life to the event.

Cars, vans and SUVs, blasting bachata, merengue, tipico and dembow. You couldn't help but be astonished with the sight and sound coming from vehicles which were modified as mobile concert halls.

The Dancing Devils
The devils (Diablos Cojuelo, and for you Santiageros its "El Lechon") were in full display — towering masks, bright colored costumes, and whips cracking the air like sharp thunder. A fixture from carnival celebrations in The Dominican Republic, which evokes nostalgia in most of us.

Old-school Dominicans will tell you many great stories about carnaval and The Devils. Those balloon like objects which many of them hang from their belts are really meant to be animal bladders filled with water or urine, which the devils would use to attack any bystander that got too close or wondered into their path.

There many stories as to the origin of these dancing Devils. But one of the earliest mentions in the 1605 novel "Don Quijote" by Miguel de Cervantes.
But the moment Sancho quitted his beast to go and help Don Quixote, the dancing devil with the bladders jumped up on Dapple, and beating him with them, more by the fright and the noise than by the pain of the blows, made him fly across the fields towards the village where they were going to hold their festival.
photo: nyc.gov
The Politicians
They are never to far away, especial on an election year. Mayor Bloomberg lead the way, i actually arrived 15 minutes late and missed the Mayor and his likely replacement, Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

But many more politicos remained — too many, and none more suffocating than Bill Thompson. There is the right way to be a part of a parade, and then there is whatever it was that Bill Thompson for Mayor did. One float wasn't enough for Mr. Thompson — two wasn't enough. At times I would ask myself if Thompson for Mayor sponsored the entire parade. Or maybe he was chosen as the "Parade King," which would make no sense, since he is not of Dominican origin.

The Dominican Day Parade is suppose to be a celebration of Dominican culture, not a stage for political pandering. Mr.s Thompson's hi-jacking of the parade made me wonder if it were possible to have a politician free parade next year — we should get started with a petition asap.

The Highlights
Whether it was seeing your favorite singer, the devils or the size of the event, there were many reasons to say wow. And if that radio remote control car with flag was your moment, you are not alone. I too count that as a personal highlight, same as the hookahs made from the cafeteras, and the classic motores which blanket Dominican streets everyday.

But there was one person that really made me smile — and I know that he was a highlight for everyone there too. If anyone knows who this guy is, please tell him I said thank you.

View more photos from the 2013 Dominican Day Parade at our Tumblr or Facebook page.

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