The 61st Annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade was held in New York City on Sunday, June 10, 2018.
The National Puerto Rican Day Parade filled Fifth Avenue yesterday with hundreds of thousands of marchers and spectators and, absent any controversy over the Grand Marshal selection this year (it was actor-activist Esai Morales), the atmosphere along the almost three-mile route was loud and festive once again, thanks in no small part to the return of the big sponsored floats cranking music and throwing out freebies.
But amid all the fun and celebration planned on Sunday, organizers and participants want to keep a spotlight on something serious - that months after Hurricane Maria roared over Puerto Rico, and as the next hurricane season arrives, the USA island territory is still struggling.
Also on hand was a marching contingent made up of people who are on the US mainland only because they were displaced from their homes on the island.
Nora Ortiz of Brooklyn, and other parade-goers, voiced frustration over what they said was an under-reporting of the death toll in Puerto Rico and a tepid emergency response by the administration of President Donald Trump.
Governor Andrew Cuomo had harsh words before the parade for President Trump's ineffective hurricane relief efforts.
"This is a year where Puerto Rico has been devastated", said Louis Maldonado, chairman of the board that oversees the parade and its affiliated events. She said she's been coming to the parade since she was a toddler.
Still, many people were stunned by survey results published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine that found the September 20 storm's death toll could be 70 times the official estimate.
At least one parade participant, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., said the parade needs to take a political tone.
That help has continued and has, through the efforts of Paterson Partners with Puerto Rico, led to the donation of money and other supplies to help rebuild one of the many schools destroyed by the storm.
The bodies of 307 people are now being kept in the morgue and in four refrigerated containers in a nearby lot, the authorities said.
'They said, 'Great. We can work on our tans.' And I said, 'Not exactly. He and the group he was marching wore black T-shirts that reflect the Harvard study's estimate of the dead.