NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Puerto Rican Day Parade hit the streets of Brooklyn on Sunday.

As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, the gigantic party celebrated heritage and a bit of a return to normalcy.

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It had been two years since the last Puerto Rican Day Parade in Bushwick. The latest one didn’t miss a beat. People celebrated all day and into the night in the street, glad to finally be together again.

Hundreds of people lined up along Knickerbocker Avenue to celebrate Puerto Rican pride. A vibrant crowd donned red, white and blue, with many waving the Puerto Rican flag.

Music was blasting as people marched and danced in the streets.

Last year’s in-person parade was cancelled because of the pandemic and had to go virtual. So, the parade’s return to the streets was not just a cultural celebration, it was also an event to honor health care workers from Wycoff and Woodhull hospitals in Brooklyn, who’ve been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Parade goers said it feels so good to be getting back to normal.

“I missed the parade last year. It was just so sad to not have this pride. So, I’m here just celebrating it and being around people has been amazing. Just seeing our flag everywhere and such pride,” Bushwick resident Vilmarie Pagan said.

“It’s so special and we’ve been doing it for years. It brings everybody together no matter what race,” another person said.

“It’s the one time that we come together and want to celebrate. It doesn’t even matter if you’re not Puerto Rican. You come out, you become Puerto Rican for the day,” Jason Pagan said.

It was the only in-person Puerto Rican Day Parade this year. Manhattan’s parade was still virtual. So it was final push for votes for some mayoral candidates, like Andrew Yang, who greeted parade goers, and Maya Wiley and Eric Adams campaign crews marched on their behalf.

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The parade ended much earlier Sunday, but they are still partying in the streets. It was a celebration that felt long overdue.

Hazel Sanchez