Thousands celebrate at Puerto Rican Day Parade

Parade king Marc Anthony, right, and his wife Jennifer Lopez, center, make their way up Fifth Avenue during the Puerto Rican Day Parade, Sunday, June 13, 2010 in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

June 13, 2010 7:00:46 PM PDT
It was all red, white and blue along Fifth Avenue. Crowds of proud Puerto Ricans are wore the colors of the island nation's flag to mark the Puerto Rican Day Parade.

Amid the dancing, music, and flags the size of Puerto Rico, thousands of hearts simply melted.

The annual event is known for bringing out huge crowds - Sunday's parade-goers stood several people deep to watch - as it makes its way up Fifth Avenue with thousands of marchers, numerous floats, celebrities and politicians taking part. "Marc Anthony is sexy, and J-Lo is my role model," a spectator said.

Singer Marc Anthony was named as the king of the parade and was greeted by raucous cheers as he and wife Jennifer Lopez made their way up the parade route.

Anthony said it was "fantastic" to be at the parade.

"It's such a big part of my life and it always has been," he said.

He took on the role after actor Osvaldo Rios dropped out of the parade.

Rios had been named as the parade's international godfather but critics called for a boycott because he has a domestic violence conviction.

Jeannette LaBoy was so thrilled to see Anthony, the man she called "the king of Puerto Rico," she said, "I almost lost my voice."

The 39-year-old school lunch helper from Brooklyn said her family was Puerto Rican. "My mother passed away and I want to represent for her," LaBoy said.

A host of politicians turned out, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. David Paterson and gubernatorial hopefuls Andrew Cuomo and Rick Lazio.

Eyewitness News asked Senator Charles Schumer if he had a chance to meet J-Lo.

"I did," Senator Schumer said, "and let me tell you, she's a very nice person."

The parade was cut down in size this year so the city could save some money.

City leaders ended the parade 7 blocks sooner than in previous years.

The parade also ended at 5 p.m. sharp, to help cut down on police overtime.

Despite bigger crowds in a smaller place, spectators said it seemed just as grand as last year.

"To me it looks the same, it's all the same, as long as we have a good time, so it doesn't make any difference," a parade goer said.

The Puerto Rican Day Parade tradition began back in 1958.

For more information about the parade, please visit www.nationalpuertoricandayparade.org.

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