Bronx Dominicans Celebrate Their Heritage

On an overcast Sunday afternoon in July, the Grand Concourse transformed into a sea of red, white and blue to celebrate the heritage of one of the Bronx's biggest and most influential communities. -- Story and images by Lennin Reyes

The 23rd annual Bronx Dominican Parade was held on July 29 between East Burnside Avenue and East 167th Street.

Bronx Dominicans were pleased with the parade, the weather and the stress-free afternoon. "We're happy that everyone's behaving," Deborah Wynns, 53, and Naty Tejera, 31, said, referring to the violence that has plagued similar events. "We hope to see the youth march forward."

Bachata Singer Henry Santos, ex-Aventura member

Thousands came to see notables of their native land, ranging from celebrities such as Celines Toribio and Michael Miguel Holguin to the "diablos cojuelos" (limping devils) of the Dominican Carnival. Pictured here is Milly Quezada, "The Queen of Merengue."

Presenter Celines Toribio

One prominent figure present at the parade was longtime radio host Alipio "Coco" Cabrera, who was named king of the parade. "I have to give thanks to the grand diaspora of this community," Cabrera said.

While Cabrera was honored, Holguin was encouraging more Bronxites to get out of their apartments to join the festivities. This was evident when his show float, "De Extremo a Extremo" (from extreme to extreme), reached 168th Street, as Holguin led a chant of "Que salgan, que salgan! (Come out, come out!)"

Diablo cojuelo (limping devil)

Local youth acts joined in, including the bachata trio Grupo Xtasys, who were not worried about the chance of showers during the event. "We're going to keep going, ‘aunque llueve’ (even if it rains)," Xtasys member Ricky said.

The parade would not be complete without politicians "de aquí y de allá " (from New York and the Dominican Republic).

"The Bronx would not be where it is today if not for the Dominican community," Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said. "It doesn't matter if you're African-American, Caribbean or Latino, we are all on the same boat," Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Marble Hill) said.

Representative Charlie Rangel poses with CUNY students.

Curtis Sliwa of the Guardian Angels

Parade royalty

Dominican Presenter Frederick Martinez "El Pachá," the self-proclaimed "King of Major World Auto Dealership"

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