Yesterday’s gigantic Puerto Rican Parade was blessed by perfect weather and hefty exuberant crowds lining 5th Avenue from 44th Street all the way up to 86th Street. It was noisy and happy, and like the 40 or so other Puerto Rican parades I’ve participated in, it was nearly incident free, which is itself an incredible achievement considering there are twenty thousand marching and hundreds of thousands, actually, according to an NYPD estimate more than a million men women and children wearing everything from traditional Caribbean garb to scanty sexy fringy salsa outfits, all lining both sides of the Avenue, happy, proud, and having a great time.
I wanted to hook up with my friend the New York Secretary of State Cesar Perales, who was supposed to be marching with Governor Andrew Cuomo, who I did not see and think was a no show because of the bad news surrounding the so far successful great escape of those two slick murderous thugs from the Big house Upstate.
But I did see and briefly marched alongside Rueben Diaz Jr. the charismatic Bronx Borough President. And basically every downstate member of the Assembly and State Senate. And aside from swapping bodily fluids with thousands of my closest friends, the highlight to me was getting blessed by his Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, who took time to ask about my dad and about the time back in the 1970’s when I was Grand Marshall of the parade and how proud my father was about the honor, even more than the fame or the Emmy’s. I told him how appreciated he is in New York, and great his place looked, meaning the recently re-furbished St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where he does his meet and greets.
I didn’t see Senator Schumer, but he was definitely there. I did meet Senator Kristen Gillibrand, who was very pleasant and pretty and I think she does a good job on her pet issues having to do with the epidemic of sex assaults in the military and on campuses.
And finally, I’ve always loved the image of all those proud Puerto Ricans marching and dancing to that salsa beat as we march past some of the world’s most expensive old money elegant housing on 5th Avenue. It’s their only dose of real life.
I had to beg off at about 70th street because we had fifty people coming over to our Edgewater home for a baby shower for my latest grandchild, my son Cruz and Lauren's second, due sometime around my birthday in early July. Erica threatens that if I was late to the shower, she’d kill me, so I made it home in time to do my abuelo duty.
The shower was fun. All five of my kids were gathered. Simone came in from Chicago, where she’s at Northwestern working there for the summer. Isabella made a rare trip out to New Jersey from the far reaches of East 90th Street, a trip she seldom makes. Gabriel and his wife Deb and their 9 month old son Desi came in from LA. Cruz usually lives in Houston, but he’s here being a daddy to his two-year old son Jace and he’s getting ready to ship out with the American Maritime Officers Union.
Then it was time to watch the NBA finals and Game of Thrones, which I’ve decided that I hate. I’ve never watched a show where all the good guys are constantly getting tortured, raped and murdered. And the basketball game was just as frustrating. Watching LeBron James the world’s consensus number one best pro basketball player be forced to play Golden State virtually singlehandedly was heartbreaking. I’m especially sensitive because Erica is from Cleveland and the city has invested so much of its self-esteem in winning what would be its first championship in any pro sport in 50 years.