Over a million people lined Fifth Avenue to celebrate the Puerto Rican Day Parade yesterday.
Grand Marshal Rita Moreno led things off, along with NYC elected officials including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Mark-Viverito wore a T-shirt in support of freeing Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera, (whom the Post calls a "terrorist" even though he was never charged with terrorism, just "seditious conspiracy"). Oh, and of course Senator Charles Schumer was there!
NBC News notes that the parade called attention to serious political issues:
This year's parade put a spotlight on several issues affecting the island. One is the environmental crisis for communities along the Caño Martín Peña in San Juan. The Caño, as it is also known, is a 3.75 mile long and 200 feet wide natural tidal channel. The clogging of the channel has led to constant flooding of water with fecal matter making it extremely dangerous for the residents living around it.
Parade officials have been strongly pushing a Change.org campaign that pleads the Congress to allocate $9.1 million on the 2016 budget to the United States Army Corps Engineers for the pre-construction Engineering and Design phase of the Caño Martín Peña Restoration Project.
Another issue that was raised by several public figures attending the parade - including the island's governor, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Parade Marshall Rita Moreno and "Jane The Virgin" actress Yvonne Coll - is the recent announcement that the federal government will cut by 11 percent the Medicare Advantage benefits in the island starting in 2016, even though the island commonwealth's federal healthcare funding rates are half of those in the U.S. mainland.
Of course, there was also a lot of dancing and merriment, though it's unclear if parade-goers' dance moves were as sizzling as Bobby Flay's.