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East Harlem Celebrates 116th Street Festival

By Claire Cameron | June 9, 2013 9:17am
 East Harlem's annual 116th Street Festival took place Saturday, June 8, 2013, kicking off the Puerto Rican cultural celebrations taking place in the city over the weekend. 
Celebrating East Harlem at 116th St. Festival
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EAST HARLEM — Revelers were out in force Saturday afternoon for the 28th annual 116th Street Festival in East Harlem.

Spanning nearly 20 blocks around Third Avenue and East 116th Street, the festival was part of the weekend's Puerto Rican cultural celebrations.

With stalls selling traditional food like pulled pork and rice and beans, and a variety of Puerto Rico-themed merchandise on sale, the festival attracted a huge crowd.

The festival was started in 1985 by David and Bob Acosta and Nick Lugo. Since then it has become a fixture of the city's cultural calender.

Iris Negron had been to the festival several times before. She said the weather had put off some people from coming.

"It is not as many as usual, it is a lot less busy this year I think," she said. "But I am enjoying myself anyway!"

Many people came to the festival to sample the Puerto Rican music and cuisine on display. Bronx resident Vanessa Otero said that she was looking forward to a day of eating traditional food and listening to salsa with her friends.

"So far it is so good," she said. "We are looking forward to listening to some of the salsa music and having fun with my girls."

The New York City mayoral candidates took the opportunity of a captive audience to thank the Puerto Rican and East Harlem neighborhood for the festivities and their contribution to the city.