MIDTOWN — New Yorkers came out in gigantic crowds as Midtown was lit up by the 32nd Domincan Day Parade on Sunday.
Half a million were anticipated to attend in the annual event which celebrates the island's independence from Spain.
Nearly 10,000 people were estimated to have marched in the colorful parade, which brought the rhythms, dancing, and excitement of the nation's heritage to Sixth Avenue and moved north between West 36th Street to West 57th Street.
Vilma Morales, who had already staked out her viewing spot by noon, said she'd brought her daughter Allyssa Laboy, 4, for the past four years.
"I am just looking forward to seeing everyone march. It'll be a lot of fun!" she said, and was excited to share the event for the first time with her youngest, Alexah, 1.
The parade's highlight this year is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Restoration War, which sealed the country's independence and caused Spanish troops to leave the country. It was certainly a party atmosphere, with crowds dressed in Dominican-themed costume lining the streets as early as 11 am to bag the perfect viewing spot.
Mayoral candidates turned out for the parade, and voting registration was going to be set up for attendees, according to reports. The candidate to draw the most attention from the crowd and the press was Anthony Weiner, who made a surprise appearance as part of his campaign for New York mayor.
Carnival revelers, dancers, and a host of Dominican deejays provided the crowd with nonstop, thumping entertainment. Nearly every one of the floats in the parade blasted reggaeton and dembow music, a variety of reggaeton that is widely popular in the Dominican Republic.
Parade organizer Israel Rodriguez said the music was the biggest draw of the parade.
"Every year we are growing, and every year we have something new," he said. "We have always had a lot of merengue playing, but now we have a lot of reggaeton music here, and it is good for the younger generations. You will be able to hear us from miles away!"
One of those dancing to the beat was Evan Morantz, who was visiting the city from upstate New York. He had bought himself a Dominican Republic flag to show his support for the parade.
"It is a lot of fun! The colors are fantastic!" He said. "It is a real community celebration."