NEW YORK CITY — For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Cinco de Mayo festival has been canceled after the organizer chose not to apply for permits because of concerns about her health, officials said.
The event, which usually spans East 116th Street between Second and Lexington avenues, had been organized for several years by community group Centro de la Comunidad Mexicana, or CECOMEX, was supposed to file paperwork with Community Board 11 by Dec. 31 to receive permits for the festival, board officials said.
But Sandra Perez, who leads CECOMEX, said she didn't file paperwork because ongoing health problems would have compromised her ability to organize the event.
"I’m the person whose in charge of everything like doing the paperwork and organizing the events," Perez said. "I decided not to do it because I’m not capable right now to do all of work."
Perez had fallen down a flight of stairs, suffering injuries including a broken leg, and has been in and out of surgery since, she said.
"This event is not going to happen this year and it's really sad," Perez said. "But still I’m going to work on the festival to keep the tradition going next year."
The festival celebrates Mexico's victory at Puebla over French forces and their imperial ambitions.
And revelers will be able to look forward to CECOMEX's Mexican independence festival on the last Sunday of September, which will take place along the same stretch of 116th Street, Perez said.