2008 Dominican Day Parade in NYC – Part 1

Sunday had the annual Dominican Day Parade on Sixth Avenue. Like last year, it was big, it was loud, it was loud, and it was loud. All in all, a good parade with an enormous amount of audience enthusiasm and, as can be expected, a lot of politics in an election year.

The parade did start on time. The crowd was large, but I did manage to get a front row position. That’s the good news. The bad is that I was right next to a young Dominican lady somewhere between 15 and 19 years old (I’m guessing, of course). She seems to have spent the previous year in a training program in professional screaming. And wild flag waving. She must have been tops in her class. My right ear is still suffering. And about 1/3 of my pictures ended up with part of her flag in it.

The parade started with cops on horses and cops on motorcycles; but my first picture was one of the highlights of the parade. These horses have some sort of equestrian training. They took very quick little steps in a prancing motion. Very cool, and impossible to capture in a picture.

The horses were followed (at a discrete distance) by the dignitaries including Mayor Bloomberg.

And that group was followed by some guy who appears to be the king ‘o the parade. I presume he’s a local character of some sort or the figure may be some sort of cultural icon. In either event (or neither), he got a lot of enthusiastic yells from the crowd. Of course, with this crowd you could have walked an chewed gum and the audience would have been leaping in joy. They were really, really wired up for this parade. And that’s the fun in parades. Almost never the participants alone, but in the give and take between paraders and watchers.

Goya foods is one of the big supporters of the parade. They had a number of floats. As is the Famous Ankles tradition, beauty queens get pictured. Here’s the first of many.

One of my best memories from last year’s parade was centered on what I can only think of as “beasties”. These are some sort of devil critters that seem to be very prominent in the culture. Whoever creates the costumes can be proud of how imaginative they are. There were lots and lots of beasties. Some of them came over very near me. Some will show up later; others are pictured with a young lady’s flag between them and my viewpoint.

Well, here are some more Goya beauty queens. And I should mention that everytime you see a float; think in terms of 120 decibels of fun streaming from them. Very loud. Not quite Puerto Rican Day Parade loud, but getting close.

A dance troupe called “Little Dancers of Borinquen” performed very nicely. Ah, but discerning readers may note that Borinquen is in Puerto Rico, not the Dominican Republic. Hey, it’s a probably a case of any opportunity to dance in public to very loud music. The group’s picture below is just of the youngest, but there were young ladies of every age in the group and they all did just fine.

Well, we’ve gone long enough without some beauty queens. Here are two from the New York Daily News. Nice smiles, ladies. I really am pointing out the “beauty queen” bit here because it nearly vanished in the last half of the parade. That’s when things got a lot more political…and boring.

One of my favorite bits in any parade is native costumes matched with vigorous dancing. It’s one of those things that riles up the crowd just right and brings out the energy. There just weren’t enough of these groups in the parade, but I did appreciate the ones that were there. And the crowd did, too.

The next picture shows a child in one of the same sort of costumes as above. But there was something a little different. Right before she and the boy behind her came up was a man in the same costume doing a comedy act. Not a transvestite, but some sort of Milton Berle in drag sort of comedy routine that I saw a couple of times and made me think there was a cultural in-joke that the crowd knew, but I didn’t (well, except the comedy was broad enough for anyone to catch). The fact that these two followed them so closely had me thinking that they were part of it, but it’s hard for me to remember why I made that conclusion. She may have been just too young or too tired to do the dance routine and her proximity to the comic may have just been coincidental.

More dancers showed up. These ladies were great and very energetic. I have several pictures of them with the girl-to-my-right’s flag in front of them. She was a waving machine with them.

As always, I like to get a good photo of the crowd. It was big. I was around 46th Street which means this wasn’t anywhere near the most crowded part of the route and just look at them!

I’m going to finish this part of the coverage with another beauty queen. I haven’t any idea of who she is or what she represents. Okay, she’s representing the Dominican Republic and doing a very fine job of it.

There were still a number of big things to come in the parade. I’ll cover the most interesting ones of them in tomorrow’s post, but a lot of it became very political. Lots of politicians and their supporters. And every single one of them was a Democrat. Welcome to NYC, what did you expect?

-H

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19 Comments on “2008 Dominican Day Parade in NYC – Part 1”


  1. […] 2008 Dominican Day Parade in NYC – Part 1Ah, but discerning readers may note that Borinquen is in Puerto Rico, not the Dominican Republic. Hey, it’sa probably a case of any opportunity to dance in public to very loud music. The group’s picture below is just of the youngest, … […]


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