A million people celebrated Puerto Rican heritage today at the 54th annual Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan.
Onlookers waving Puerto Rican flags and wearing the flag's red, white and blue color scheme lined up Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 79th Street.
Organizers said the theme of this year's parade was "celebrating the natural beauty of Puerto Rico," and the parade featured hundreds of marchers in colorful costumes, music and floats.
One float from Time Warner Cable, the parent company of NY1, featured NY1 Noticias anchor Carleth Keys and traffic reporter Stephanie Vies and salsa singer Frankie Negron.
The weather was much cooler than it was last week, but many people said conditions couldn't be better.
"I'm proud to be here over the years. My mother and father used to bring me as a little boy, and now I'm 40, here I am, live, celebrating Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican heritage," said Manhattan resident Edward Sanchez. "It's a beautiful, sunny day."
"I just want to show off my pride. I'm a proud Puerto Rican and I just like the music, you know?" said Staten Island resident Daniel Pagan, who wore a Puerto Rican flag as a cape. "You've got to show pride for what you have."
Paradegoers said they loved celebrating Puerto Rico's culture and Puerto Ricans born both on the island and in the mainland United States.
"You see the unity, you see the love, you see the support. Everybody's happy, everybody's out here with their kids, their family, and the support it," said one attendee.
"I've been coming for the last 35 years, that I've lived in New York, and I wanted to show my pride, my flag, my colors and just have fun with the people," said another.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator Charles Schumer, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Edward Cardinal Egan were among the marching dignitaries.
Actor and Broadway star John Leguizamo got a ride on the back of a convertible.
Before the big parade, a number of parade organizers, government officials and prominent community members gathered for a breakfast at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.
As performers played Puerto Rican music, parade officials paid tribute to those who traveled a long way to be in the city for the festivities.
"Today I'm blessing all the participants and the wonderful people of New York and the people that are visiting from Puerto Rico and other countries," said Milagros Baez O'Toole, the parade's "civic godmother."
"I'm looking forward to marching the next two miles today, to show the people of the world that Puerto Ricans are united and we can create unity through each other and through our music," said California State Grand Marshal Albert Torres.
Mayors from 11 different cities attended the breakfast.
Obama Goes To Puerto Rico
President Barack Obama is traveling to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, for the first official visit to the commonwealth made by a U.S. president since John F. Kennedy in 1961. NY1 will have reports from Puerto Rico on the visit this week.