50 greatest moments in the Puerto Rican Parade (NYC)

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FROM beauty queens who marched in heels to politicians who sported fake smiles to win some votes, to the controversial "Seinfeld" episode, the Puerto Rican Parade has made Big Apple history for over half a century.

March 1958 - Leaders from the Puerto Rican community decide to break away from the Hispanic Day Parade and create the Puerto Rican Day Parade. According to an editorial in "El Diario," the main objective of the Hispanic Day Parade, which was mainly run by Puerto Ricans, is to unite all peoples of the Spanish language. The Puerto Rican Day Parade is founded by Victor Lopez, the march's first president; coordinator Jose "Chuito" Caballero; Peter Ortiz; Luisa Quintero; Luis Amando Feliciano; Vicente Hernández; Angel M. Arroyo; Atanacio Rivera Feliciano; and Amalio Maisanave Ríos.

April 1958 - The first Puerto Rican Day parade is held on Fifth Avenue on April 14 as 5,000 Boricuas march in front of a crowd of 125,000. It's a huge success, receiving a hail of positive reviews from the media. The Herald Tribune says, "there are longer and larger parades but none encompass the spirit of the Puerto Rican Day Parade" and the New York Times says, "The Puerto Ricans have taken over Fifth Avenue." Then-New York Mayor Robert F. Wagner is quoted in the New York Times, as saying "the Puerto Ricans have demonstrated their civic and cultural contributions to the City of New York." But what really got tongues wagging was when Gloria Burgos, the queen of the parade, and her court, walked all 34 blocks in high heels after the float she was supposed to appear on never showed up. Attendees included then-Governor of Puerto Rico Don Luis Muñoz Marin and Oscar González Suarez, Esq. as the Grand Marshall. ...

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