Today’s news:

Dominican Pride on parade in Williamsburg

After a long and festive day celebrating their Dominican heritage on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, Williamsburg’s Dominican-American community took to the streets for a five-hour party Sunday during the 22nd annual 2009 Dominican Block Party.

“The Williamsburg, Brooklyn Dominican block party is a special event that cements the legacy of the large, hardworking Dominican population that settled in the Southside of Williamsburg when they emigrated from the Caribbean island they affectionately refer to as “Quisqueya la Bella”,” said Esteban Duran, a Williamsburg resident and Community Board 1 member.

The party began 22 years ago when Maria Rodriguez founded the event in front of the Botanica Dominicana (365 Hooper Street), which she owned, to offer a local venue to complement the Dominican Day Parade in Manhattan, which usually occurs in late August.

“After one raucous year when the police came in full riot gear to disperse the crowd, Maria decided to fill out the street permit request to close the block and allow for the youth and crowds to dance to both prominent and local merengue artist,” said Duran.

Several candidates for public office have taken notice, as hundreds of posters reading “Latinos for Bloomberg,” “Diana Reyna for Council” and “Maritza Davila for Council” were plastered throughout the block.Reyna, Davila, and Gerry Esposito, all running for City Council in the 34th District, passed through the block, shaking hands as eager volunteers passed out flyers.

Though Rodriguez died in 2007, her daughter, Maritza, has continued the tradition.Now thousands of Dominican-Americans and other community members from Manhattan and the Bronx take the J train out to the South Side to sing, dance, and party well into the night.

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