Thousands March in NYC's Puerto Rican Day Parade

Celebrities and politicians took part in the festive event on Fifth Avenue, featuring colorful floats, costumes and music

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP Images
    A parade participant skates down Fifth Avenue during the 56th annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.

    Tens of thousands of revelers decked out in red, white and blue marched down Fifth Avenue Sunday for the 56th annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.
     
    Celebrities and politicians took part in the festive event, featuring colorful floats, costumes and music. The parade, which is one of the largest in the country, ran from 44th Street to 79th Street.

    The event evolved in the early 1950s as a pan-Latino affair but later became more focused on celebrating Puerto Rican heritage.

    Actress Chita Rivera was this year's grand marshal, and Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn were among the marchers.

    An estimated two million people lined the streets to watch, some lining up as early as 6 a.m. for a front-row view.

    "I haven't been to Puerto Rico since 1989, and I said this is the closest I can get," said Louis Martinez, who came to New York from Boston on a Greyhound bus Saturday night. "This is the biggest one in the country."

    An uproar recently erupted among the Puerto Rican community over a logo of their island flag on a commemorative Coors Light beer can created for the parade.
     
    Coors is a parade sponsor.
     
    Organizers denied the image was meant to represent the Puerto Rican flag or the parade's logo.

    -Jonathan Vigliotti contributed reporting