Local non-profits bring the spirit of Latin America to Queens. As NY1's Shannan Ferry explains, it all came as a surprise to residents.
A sudden dance party in the middle of a local restaurant, and an unexpected performance in front of a subway station.
It may not be what you'd expect to find on Roosevelt Avenue on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, but that's exactly what residents woke up to this week in Jackson Heights.
"It's about keeping traditions alive, as a Latino in the United States, it's very easy to get away from your culture and your family," said Luis Salgado, who is the Founder and Director at Revolucion Latina.
Dozens danced through the streets and into shops, surprising hundreds with traditional Latin American holiday performances.
It's the second year in a row local non-profits have banded together to organize the festivities, as a way to celebrate Three Kings Day.
"There is a common unity when it comes to, this time of the year," said Jose Ortiz, who is the President of Bombayo.
The holiday celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany, a tradition in Latin American culture marking the day the three wise men visited baby Jesus. Organizers hope the music and dancing makes people feel at home this time of year.
"In Puerto Rico, it's a tradition to go anywhere that you can play music, when the lights go on for Christmas, music is brought out from store to store," said Leslie Ramos, who is the Executive Director for the 82nd St. Partnership.
While there are plenty of Three Kings Day celebrations that take place across the city, including a huge annual parade in East Harlem, residents here say the diversity of the neighborhood is what sets their celebration apart.
"This is one of the biggest Latina communities in New York City, we have, there's so many languages spoken here," said Paula Ortiz, who is the Director of Centro Cultural Barco De Papel.
Coordinators are determined to pass on to that heritage to the younger generation.
The celebration ended with a free workshop for kids, where they learned about Latin American music and culture.