Assault in Central Park
Perhaps the lowest point during the long and mostly peaceful history of the parade, a group of women were groped and assaulted while in Central Park by various bands of men after the parade had let out. Many people believe that the incident was more about city mismanagement of the largest parade of the year, having corralled tens of thousands of people from walking down the streets of the Upper East Side, instead relegating them to the park with a minimal police presence.
The Investigation and a New Era
2014 was a pivotal year, as an investigation of fiscal mismanagement by parade organizers lead to reorganization and refocusing of the parade and it’s mission. This came after a few years of very poor decisions by the parade board, including selecting a Parade Marshal who was a convicted domestic abuser and signing sponsorships with companies that the public deemed inappropriate. This decision-making led to further inquiry as where the funds for sponsorships were actually going. A public outcry for new leadership arose. New leadership was assembled including the likes of including Lorraine A. Cortés-Vázquez, former chair of the Hispanic Federation and former NYC Secretary of State.
This year’s theme is “One Community, Many Voices,” and is honoring cultural legends like actor/singers Rita Moreno, Victor Manuelle, and looking towards the future by honoring Lin Manuel Miranda, creator of Broadway hits In The Heights and Hamilton.
The parade is indeed at a crossroads, and the people are hopeful that the new leadership will steer clear of controversy and focus on core values such as education, culture and the achievements of the people the parade represents. There are much more “key moments” to come, and we look forward to many more years of this parade, as it helps shape what is New York and the country as a whole.