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Dominican Independence Day Celebrated by New Yorkers

By Carla Zanoni | February 25, 2012 12:44pm

MANHATTAN —  Dominican New Yorkers are getting ready to party like it’s 1844 — as they plan a week’s worth of festivities marking the Dominican Republic’s 168th anniversary of its independence from Haitian rule. 

With many Dominican New Yorkers focused on the possibility of a Dominican Congressional District, this year’s anniversary has taken on more meaning for some. 

Dominican-Americans are the fastest-growing Latino population in New York City and are “on track to become the largest Latino group in New York City,” according to the Latino Project at CUNY

State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who came to New York City from the Dominican Republic during the 1970s, said he looked forward to the opportunity to “step back and celebrate all” the community has accomplished.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz.
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“In New York, Dominican-Americans have helped rejuvenate communities that were previously in decline, contributing in the areas of arts, education, economic development, entertainment and government. But our work is not complete,” he said in an email statement.

“By standing together with fellow Dominicans — and all our friends — we will empower our community and build a better, more prosperous future for all.”

Here's a look at some of the events planned to mark the anniversary:

Saturday, Feb. 25

Fresh from his performance in Queens last week, Frank Reyes, the self-proclaimed “Prince of Bachata” music, performs at El Morocco in Harlem. 3534 Broadway at West 145th Street, $15 admission. 

Monday, Feb. 27, 3 to 5 p.m. 

Celebrate Dominican-American culture and the 1940s Dominican Technicolor starlet Maria Montez, also known as the "Caribbean Cyclone," with elected officials Espaillat and City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, at Mamajuana Café, 247 Dyckman St. 

Wednesday, Feb. 29, 7 to 11 p.m. 

Join the DREAM Project for a fundraising event with honorary chairs Pulitzer-prize winning author Junot Díaz and Dominican actress Celines Toribio, as they mark the anniversary and raise funds for their mission to support the education of Dominican children. Hotel Americano, 518 West 27th St., between 10th and 11th avenues. Donation $150. 

Thursday, March 1, 6:30 p.m. 

Celebrate the Independence of the Dominican Republic at the Hispanic Society in Washington Heights as they honor the New York Dominican Officers Organization (NYDO), the Association of Dominican American Supervisors & Administrators (DASA) and the Dominican Bar Association. Mamajuana Café and Mama Sushi Restaurant co-sponsor the event. Hispanic Society, 613 West 155th St. RSVP to Juan Rosa at jrosa@council.nyc.gov or 212-234-0551.