New life for Yonkers' Puerto Rican parade

Sonia Diaz rides a motorcycle with Pedro Maymi,

Photo credit: Meghan E. Murphy | Sonia Diaz rides a motorcycle with Pedro Maymi, both of Yonkers, in the 2012 Puerto Rican/Hispanic Day parade down South Broadway in Yonkers. (June 3, 2012)

As Puerto Rican flags whipped through the air, Yonkers residents lined up seven deep to watch a new beginning for the Yonkers Puerto Rican/Hispanic Day parade.

Though the 2011 parade was canceled because of a lack of sponsorship, the renewed 33rd annual fest drew hundreds to South Broadway to watch traditional dancing, listen to popular Latino music blaring from classic cars and to join in shouts of "Que Viva Puerto Rico!"

The first Puerto Rican/Hispanic Day parade took place in New York City in 1958. Since then, many cities across the country have adopted the idea.

Almost 4 million Puerto Ricans living in the United States celebrate their culture with events in June across the country.

"We're proud to be Puerto Ricans. This is a recognition of our contribution to the city," said Pedro Maymi of Yonkers, who drove his Honda motorcycle in the parade, with Sonia Diaz on the back fervently waving two Puerto Rican flags. Diaz is the secretary of the Yonkers Puerto Rican/ Hispanic Day Parade Foundation, which hosts the event.

Yonkers Mayor Michael Spano was among those at the parade.

Luckily for parade-goers, the rain held off while marchers like the Santiago Music and Arts Center's children's string orchestra strummed guitars down South Broadway. And the Ballet Folklorico female dancers enchanted the crowd with swirling cerulean-blue-and-magenta skirts.

Just as the last group passed the judge's stand, after 45 minutes into the parade, the raindrops began to fall.

There were no reports of arrests or any property damage or destruction.