These Photos Capture Over 5 Decades Of Pride At The Puerto Rican Day Parade

New York City’s Fifth Avenue will be decked out in red, white and blue Sunday in honor of the 59th Annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade. ¡Wepa!

Under the theme Un Pueblo, Muchas Voces (One Nation, Many Voices), the event will celebrate the beautiful and diverse culture shared by Puerto Ricans on the island and throughout the diaspora.

The first parade took place Sunday, April 13, 1958, with approximately 125,000 people in attendance, according to the New York Daily News. This year, more than 1.5 million spectators are expected to line the 35-block parade route as 100,000 more people march, dance and ride their way down Fifth Avenue, including this year’s parade king and queen, Carmelo Anthony and Rosario Dawson. If the parades of the past are any indication, this year’s event will be spectacular. 

So get excited and join us as we take a nostalgic look back at Puerto Rican Day Parades of yesteryear in the photos below. 


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  • 1 1960
    Charles Payne/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

    Luz Valentin, 5, has the spirit as she waves American and Puerto Rican flags from the hood of a car in the 1960 Puerto Rican Day Parade. Some 150,000 people turned out to cheer the marchers and bands as they streamed up Fifth Avenue in the brilliant sunshine.
  • 2 1963
    Charles Payne/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

    16-year-old Carmen Juarge rides down Fifth Avenue in Cinderella’s carriage.
  • 3 1964
    Dan Godfrey/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

    Three women in dazzling gowns “float” down the parade route.
  • 4 1966
    Ed Clarity/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

    Proud spectators line Fifth Avenue and 66th Street.
  • 5 1967
    Gene Kappock/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

    Children run out to greet Sen. Robert Kennedy (D-N.Y.) and Bronx Borough President Herman Badillo.
  • 6 1968
    Fred Morgan/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

    Two women don pavas, traditionalstraw hats.
  • 7 1969
    Fred Morgan/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

    Queen Ivelia Sisco (top) and her court wave at spectators.
  • 8 1971

    A float makes its way down Fifth Avenue.
  • 9 1972
    Mel Finkelstein/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

    Young women dance downFifth Avenue at the 1972 Puerto Rican Day Parade.
  • 10 1975
    AP Photo/Suzanne Vlamis

    Young majorettes march down the streets of Manhattan.
  • 11 1979
    William LaForce Jr./NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

    Actor Erik Estrada waves at revelers as he rides down the parade route.
  • 12 1980
    Associated Press/G. Paul Burnett

    Lolita Lebrn, one of four Puerto Rican nationalists pardoned in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter, leads marchers in the 1980 Puerto Rican Day Parade.
  • 13 1987

    A float carrying children and a statue of the Virgin Mary makes its waydown the street.
  • 14 1994
    AP Photo/Joseane Daher

    Spectators cheer as a reveler in a vejigante costume marches by.
  • 15 1995
    Misha Erwitt/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

    Spectators cheer and shout along the sidelines.
  • 16 1996
    Susan Watts/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

    Young girls don traditional dresses and pavas.
  • 17 1997
    AP Photo/Emile Wamsteker

    Spectators proudly wave flags from behind barricades.
  • 18 1998
    AP Photo/Adam Nadel

    Tens of thousands of people crowd onto Fifth Avenue to take pride in their Caribbean heritage at the 40th Annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade.
  • 19 June 1999
    AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett

    Music legend Tito Puente is escorted up New York’s Fifth Avenue during the 41st Annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade.
  • 20 2000
    Bill Turnbull/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

    Actress Rosie Perez holds up a sign calling for peace for Vieques as she rides in a convertible during the 2000 National Puerto Rican Day Parade.
  • 21 2001
    Mychal Watts/WireImage

    A young boy rides down the parade route on his mini-motorcycle.
  • 22 2002
    Mario Tama/Getty Images

    Traditional dancers perform during the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in2002.
  • 23 2003
    AP Photo/Gregory Bull

    A group of performerswarm up before joining the procession.
  • 24 2004
    Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

    Dancers wearing traditional garb perform for millions of spectators.
  • 25 2005
    AP Photo/L.M. Otero

    Revelers cheer and wave Puerto Rican flagsas they watch the parade procession.
  • 26 2006
    Jason Kempin/FilmMagic

    Marc Anthony served as the parade’s National Grand Marshal in 2006. He was joined by then-wife Jennifer Lopez and then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
  • 27 2007
    Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

    Ricky Martin reigned as king at the 2007National Puerto Rican Day Parade.
  • 28 2008
    Robert Sabo/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

    Some 2 million spectators braved the hot, muggy weather to participate in the2008 event.
  • 29 2010
    AP Photo/Jason DeCrow


    div class=”listicle__slide-caption” js-image-caption”>Parade participants carry a large Puerto Rican flag as they march through the city.

  • 30 2011
    Rob Kim/FilmMagic

    Three young girls ride in the back of a blue car along the parade route.
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