NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A half a million people lined Sixth Avenue Sunday for the 32nd Annual Dominican Day Parade.
Delegations from the Dominican Republic were on hand to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of their compatriots outside the island.
The parade route began at 37th Street and marched up to 52nd Street. Participants were jubilant, WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported.
“I’m having a lot of fun. It’s really cool. Second time ever; enjoying it,” one participant said.
“It makes me real proud,” another said. “We’re proud people.”
Sixth Avenue was closed along the route until 5 p.m., as well as the 37th and 38th Streets between Broadway and Fifth Avenue, which served as the parade’s staging area.
Several candidates made appearances at the parade. But mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner stole the show, sprinting and dancing his way up a Manhattan avenue with thousands cheering him on.
It was a spectacle executed in bright red pants, with a bullhorn and a giant Dominican flag.
The embattled Democrat who had resigned his congressional seat over a sexting scandal drove the crowd into a frenzy, zig-zagging from one side of the avenue to the other and waving a flag bigger than theirs over their heads.
“Che viva la Republica Dominicana!” the energized 48-year-old yelled into a bullhorn of red-and-white colors that matched his attire.
“Weiner!” spectators yelled back, some grabbing his bullhorn to be heard louder.
Weiner first appeared at the tail end of the parade, with other Democratic mayoral candidates preceding him, including front-runner Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson, Bill de Blasio and John Liu.
Quinn was another crowd favorite. Each time the City Council speaker made a bee line for the sidelines, she was smothered in hugs and cheers.
Eliot Spitzer, running for city comptroller, also appeared.
They’re all seeking the city’s significant Hispanic vote. Hispanic residents represent nearly 30 percent of the city’s population.
If there were any anti-Weiner spectators, they weren’t making their sentiments known to the crowd.
At the end of the parade, the optimistic candidate told reporters who had scurried to keep pace, “I’m worried for you, guys. We’ve got four more years of parades.”
But he himself took a moment to catch his breath two-thirds of the way into the parade. Weiner stood quietly in the middle of the avenue, taking a few deep breaths and eyeing the crowd, his smile gone. Then he quickly resumed his bullhorned declarations.
Leading the march was outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose third term is up in January. The primary is Sept. 10. The general election is Nov. 5.
This year, the parade featured Raul Acosta and his band Oro Solido, and Latin pop sensation Matt Hunter.
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