When the Puerto Rican Day Parade rolls down Fifth Avenue this Sunday, it’ll be the first time that parade leaves the space of virtual gatherings since 2019. But locals in Bushwick have not had to wait so long – down Knickerbocker Avenue, the parade has been a lively event in the pandemic era since last year. And it’s happening again this year. 

At 3pm on Sunday afternoon, the central Bushwick thorofare will be filled with “thousands upon thousands of families from across the world,” according to its organizers. Last year, Tony’s Pizzeria manager Salvatore Polizzi – who had been involved in putting together the first of these parades back in 2019 – said the theme had been “honoring both Wyckoff Hospital and Woodhull Hospital for their efforts in battling [the] COVID-19 pandemic.” According to Evette Lopez, one of the people involved with planning it this year, Polizzi resigned from the parade’s planning committee back in May.

The theme this year is “La Historia de Nuestra Bandera,” which translates to “history of the flag.” The organizers of this year’s parade say festivities will “focus on the history of the island’s fight against colonialism and the people’s bravery during the revolt against the Spaniards.”

A number of local politicians are also lined up to make appearances and potentially speeches. From Capitol Hill: Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. From Albany: Maritza Davila, a local assemblywoman, and Julia Salazar, the state senator. From City Hall: the recently-elected Sandy Nurse. Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, currently campaigning for governor, is also set to appear. 

Last year’s parade had also been a political stopping point. Then-mayoral candidate Andrew Yang had made an appearance, as did reps for Maya Wiley and the race’s eventual winner Eric Adams. CBS’ flagship New York affiliate had sent a camera crew to cover the scene. “Just seeing our flag everywhere and such pride,” one local told the cameras. 

“We aim to strengthen the bridge between our native homeland, Brooklyn and across the world, to bring families together and bring light to the beauty of the Puerto Rican culture,” the organizers say. 

Catch the start of this year’s parade at 3pm on Sunday at the corner of Menahan Street and Knickerbocker Avenue, where it will travel down to Flushing Avenue, by around 5pm.

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