Life, Learning and the Photos taken in between.

2011 Puerto Rican Day Parade with (En Sap where available)

Since I have been trying to learn this damn 35mm Nikon SLR, I haven’t really been shooting digital as much as I used to. I received a text or FB message that the Puerto Rican Day Parade was a go and we would be doing a massive skate mob through the parade. Photos, Rollerblading and Beer or Cerveza for my latin speaking readers. Ray Mendez  arranged this spur of the moment skate mob with John Leguizamo who was voted as this years global ambassador of the arts. I hadn’t been to a Puerto Rican Day Parade since 2000 when there were women who were attacked by Groups of men in Central Park after the parade. I don’t know but that kind of made me lose the urge to ever want to go, 11 years later that urge came back. The meet up location was 48th and 6th ave and Jigs, Merchi and myself arrived around 10:30am to link up with Jon Ortiz, Ray Mendez and 2 other bladers (forgot your names, my bad) to get our wrist bands and tee shirts to gain full access to the parade. The streets were flooded with culture pride and Latin women wearing minimal clothing. Seeing as i’m half Puerto Rican it was pretty sweet to be in the middle of the festivities and and madness that the PuertoRican Day Parade offers.  I wish I could understand what people were saying though (I don’t Piki Pani).

Right before we hit the parade we were able to link up with John Stepehens and his 9 year old Nephew Damian which added 2 more heads to the group. There was a quick Skate session on this marble ledge to get the day started but much like any other day, Security came and kicked us out. Parade pooper!

So what roll did we have in the parade you ask? We captured that energy of the parade from beginning to end and being of the blades made us the most mobile media of the day.  We skated from 46st to 80th and captured not only the floats and performers but also the crowd celebrating their Puerto Rican heritage (yea i saw some of you Dominicans out there too but ill keep that Shhhhhh).

To be involved in something this awesome was an honor in itself but to have my photography put in the mix made this day and experience one that I would never forget. Although the skate from 46th to 80th st was no joke and I haven’t done a skate like that in a long time, we went back and did the round twice. All the positive energy was motivation to keep going. Every time i went around someone with the camera they came alive, screaming and whistling yelling things like “Yo soy Tu Bano” or something like that. I was determined to either learn to whistle with my fingers or speak a solid sentence in espanol before my day was over. The whistling attempt just led me to spit all over my hand…FAIL!

If you think this was an easy task i’ll break it down for you. Shooting moving objects while you are moving in the same direction, on rollerblades and you have to get in front of the objects your shooting. I wound up skating backwards  to get most of my shots. On the second round through the Parade I threw on my Fisheye lens to try and capture more of the parade and give it a weird look. There was no time for anyone to stop and pose for the camera, we was moving the entire time.

Overall the parade was a blast and I had a great time shooting it. Merchi, Ray, Jon, Damian, Jigs and the two other dudes whose names i cant remember to save my life. We got some MTA love and was able to shoot this photo on the bus, met some cool ass people and just repped Rollerblading. I had a great time doing the 3 things I love the most. Skating Photography and bugging out through NYC streets. Check out the other photos from the Parade and share the link to those who may have been at the parade. Maybe I took a pic of them without knowing.  Oh yea I saw Geraldo Rivera woooo hooooo.

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