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New mayor leads Big Apple’s Puerto Rican Day parade

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio greeted the crowd watching the parade, which featured colorful costumes.

Seth Wenig/Associated Press

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio greeted the crowd watching the parade, which featured colorful costumes.

NEW YORK — Amid a cacophony of horns, whistles, and music, Bill de Blasio led the annual Puerto Rican Day parade up Fifth Avenue on Sunday for his first time as mayor.

Hundreds of thousands of marchers and onlookers packed the avenue on a warm sunny day. The theme of this year’s parade was ‘‘One Nation, Many Voices.’’

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‘‘This year is different because New York has a new mayor,’’ said 39-year-old Felix Martinez, who wore a Puerto Rican flag on his cowboy hat for his 16th time at the parade.

‘‘This is a good, positive change, and it gives us Puerto Ricans some sort of hope,’’ Martinez said.

Another big change this year was the replacement of the board of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Inc. after the state attorney general found that a man who promoted the event and his company misappropriated $1 million to benefit themselves and used airline vouchers donated by parade sponsors, JetBlue and American.

On Sunday, Puerto Rican employees of JetBlue marched behind an airline banner.

The parade stepped off late Sunday morning on Fifth Avenue at 44th Street, winding up at 79th Street.

Floats, bands, and marching formations all had one element in common: the red, white, and blue of the Puerto Rican flag.

Security was tight, with a heavy police presence and barricades to Times Square.

Parade organizers also marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Puerto Rican poet and activist Julia de Burgos.

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