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In step: Cops, locals keep peace at Sunset Park Puerto Rican parade

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Photo gallery

1/7
Float on: Arianna Ortiz and cousin Orlando Acosta may not be old enough to drive, but that didn’t stop them from entering a float in the parade.
2/7
Oye: Revellers carried instruments, noise-makers, and megaphones to the march.
3/7
Bailarina: A marcher demonstrates a traditional dance.
4/7
Sombrero occasion: Councilman Carlos Menchaca and Borough President Adams both know that the key to a good parade is a snazzy hat.
5/7
Va va vroom!: The helmet is a plus, but much of this young lady’s attire would not stave off road rash.
6/7
Pride ride: Revellers draped and festooned their cars in Puerto Rican flags for the parade.
7/7
Flag Day: Puerto Rican flags waved by the thousands during Sunset Park’s Puerto Rican Day Parade on June 14 — the same day patriots also celebrate Old Glory and Flag Day.

This procession has made serious progress.

Police and Sunset Parkers kept the peace for the first time in decades during a Puerto Rican Day parade along Fifth Avenue on June 14. This was the first time in nearly 30 years that someone secured a parade permit for the previously unofficial street celebration.

In past years, violence erupted between un-permited revellers and police — but Sunday’s parade, which drew more than 6,000 people, was the first without incident in recent memory, an organizer said.

“No one was arrested, no one was fined — it was so smooth,” said parade organizer Dennis Flores. “We get pegged that our community is violent, but we showed that is nonsense.”

Decades of police-community tension seemed to evaporate on that balmy afternoon, according to Flores.

“Police were calm and respectful,” he said. “They took part in the celebration. They were dancing with people.”

Musicians beat barriles — Puerto Rican drums — and dancers displayed traditional steps as the procession made its way up Fifth Avenue — culminating in a festival at Sunset Park.

“It was like being in the living room with grandma, but we were on the avenue,” said Peter Ortiz, a life-long resident who said the sight was a far cry from previous parades.

“Two or three years ago, police came out with bean bag guns and they were shooting at the crowd,” he said.

Last year, police battered a 17-year-old kid and then accused him of attacking police officers before eventually dropping charges on the grounds that the officer who claimed to witness the attack wasn’t actually around at the time.

Flores, who heads the police watchdog group El Grito De Sunset Park, obtained the parade permit specifically to ensure peace at this year’s celebration, he said.

The Sunset Parker Facebook page also claims there were no incidents at the 2015 fete, attributing the information to 72nd Precinct commanding officer Capt. Tommy Ng. But the precinct did not respond to a request for comment.

Expect a bigger, better, and equally safe parade next year, Flores said.

“At 12:01 am that night, I filed online for a permit for the parade next year,” he said. “I’ve got so many people that want to be part of a committee. The police department is already reaching out now and they want to have meetings.”

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Posted 12:00 am, June 18, 2015
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Reasonable discourse

Benjilove from 49th st. says:
I was raise in suncet park,and still, i got famimy that live there l love that place,i wich someday i move back there,few P.R there now but is all still some there,i want to say hy to all my people in sunset park........peace and love,
benji love.
June 18, 2015, 8:58 am
Javier Nieves from Sunset Park Brooklyn says:
Benjilove, guess you did not see the parade this past Sunday, I know we are still many in Sunset Park, about 95% of those at the parade were from stated neighborhood. Only now these are 2 & 3 and even 4th generation Puerto Rican, we may be less decernable. Let's not eco what people say so as to diminish our number and power ' we will be majority for years to come and growing, or I guess NY is not getting an influx of those leaving Puerto Rico.
June 18, 2015, 1:02 pm
Joey damico from sunset park says:
My daughters were so excited to have the parade in Brooklyn and didn't have to go to the city they lived in Brooklyn all their lives it was great for them to enjoy Puerto Rican day parade in there own neighborhood!!!! Can't wait for next year.
June 18, 2015, 9:52 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I also was shocked that there were no sexual assaults, fights, riots, or shootings. Maybe next year i guess?
June 19, 2015, 8:37 am
Maria Moya from Sunset park says:
I have lived in sunset park all my life and live on 48st for 35years and this was the first year I can remember no fighting with each other or with the police. I was 9yrs old when I was in the Sunset Park, Puerto Rican parade as a batan girl. I used to luv walking thru 5th Ave and hearing and seeing every one having fun and dancing. .Once monchito got sick the parades ended till now and I hope this continues for many more year's to come!!!! I KNO NEXT YEAR WILL BE EVEN BIGGER AND BETTER.. My family sponsored the parade and donated a huge amount and IT WAS SO WORTH IT. LUV MI SUNETNEER FAMILY
June 20, 2015, 2:26 am
magnus from sunset says:
It is a**holes like Mike who posts about sex ssaults that really get get me going. You will find bad seeds in any group or organization. I would really like to meet you personally. Angel- 48th & 49th street!
June 22, 2015, 5:14 am

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