Updated 06/10/2012 06:09 PM
Puerto Rican Community Holds Annual Parade On Fifth Avenue
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Puerto Ricans celebrated their culture on the Upper East Side on Sunday at the 55th annual Puerto Rican Day Parade, which this year had the theme of "Puerto Ricans And Higher Education."
More than two million people lined the parade route to check out traditional costumes, music and dancing and onlookers came early for a prime viewing spot.
President Felix V. Matos Rodriguez of CUNY's Hostos Community College served as grand marshal.
New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz marched as Athlete of the Year, along with New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony and elected officials including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
"It feels good seeing this parade, coming to it as a kid and being able to enjoy with everybody else. It's a good time," said Cruz.
"It's something we do every year. So we come out here every single year as a family and friends and just have a good time and show that we represent Puerto Rico," said one parade-goer.
"I want my kids to know their heritage. I want them to feel what I feel: the proudness, the pride of being a Puerto Rican," said another.
NY1 Noticias' Jon Inoa and Carleth Keys
Sonia Manzano, the actor who plays Maria on the PBS children's program "Sesame Street," was the parade's godmother and stressed the importance of education among Puerto Ricans.
"Apparently a lot of our youth are in trouble and they're not finishing high school or going into college. So I think a parade is a great way to bring attention to a problem and hope that people will solve it," said Manzano. "That's what we do on 'Sesame Street,' you make a joke and you have fun out of serious problems, and then people really start to think about it."
NY1's parent company, Time Warner Cable, had a float in the parade and Carleth Keys and Jonathan Inoa of NY1 Noticias took part in the festivities.