Sunday, June 17, 2007

Puerto Rican Day Parade

Today is easily the loudest day of the year on my street. I happen to live on the route of an annual parade celebrating Puerto Rican culture. It's my own fault that I didn't get enough sleep before the noise started. I thought they'd wait a bit longer than 9:30 am.

Well, it isn't really a parade, and unless Puerto Rican culture revolves around ear-splitting engines and burning tires, they probably aren't hewing too close to the other part of the name either. Plus it goes well into the night. So maybe none of the words are quite accurate. Lots of Puerto Rican flags of all sizes, though.

Each year for the last few, it's been a quieter and smaller affair than the previous one. This afternoon, the police kept shutting down my street entirely, to punish the rowdy, I suppose.

My first year in the neighborhood, I had no idea such a thing existed. It took me three hours to get home from band rehearsal, most of the time spent within a mile of my house. The rule since then has been not to go anywhere by car. Way less angry-making for me. I either go somewhere on foot or hang out on the front stoop and enjoy the insanity. I opted for the latter this year, armed with my handy camera.

I like the ordinary, festive family portion of the day. There are picnics and barbeques and families gathered all along both sides of the street. The puzzler is the thing with the tires. Kids rush out to any car that stops and douse the rear wheels with water, which helps to keep the car from moving forward immediately and also prevents actual fire from breaking out. The driver slams down the accelerator and the kids sort of rock the car back and forth until it takes off noisily down the street. The point is to produce as much smoke as possible, which is often quite a lot of smoke. Completely obscured vision, instant headache amounts of smoke. Also, the amount of smoke is apparently focus-fooling. I lost a lot more shots than normal.

Makes me miss the days when I was mostly irritated by the noise.

Anyway, I got some shots from the brief intervals when the police were not around to dampen the shrieks and squeals and rumbles of an orgy of internal combustion.

I did not stop anyone to ask about their carbon footprint, as they tooled around and around all afternoon. It just didn't seem like a good time to do that.

A few more pics on the Flickr page. Thank you for your time. Now excuse me, please, as I go get some sleep.


Pallav said...


I see punks!!

Parades are fun man :)


Unknown said...

I wondered what was going on in the photos. I wonder how much time it took to work out the right combination of things to do to make that much smoke? Hope you had a good sleep.

Unknown said...

Sheesh! Where do you live again? Don't you have any Irish festivals during the year... ;)

By the way, I've tagged you for the 'eight things I've invented about myself meme.' Come and c

Unknown said...

And they are celebrating what exactly? Puerto Rican Hot Tyre Day? Looks more like Warzone Day and did the ice cream truck survive? I worry about these things.

The Moon Topples said...

Nothingman: Yes, they are punks in their fashion, but when they dragged their stereo outside, for some reason they were playing Coolio songs.

V: No idea about anything but the sleep, which was wonderful, thanks.

Cailleach: The Irish get St. Patrick's Day, and we dye our river green. Surely that's enough for them.

Minx: I used to think it was Puerto Rican Independence Day, but there's no "Independence" in the names of any of the official things. So it's just Puerto Rican Day. Haven't seen (or heard) the ice cream truck in a while, but I assume it is fine. I appreciate your concern.

Nikki Neurotic said...

The smoking thing must me a Chicago thing...when we have the P.R. festival in my town...I don't think they do that. Just make lots and lots of noise..and as I live close to where the main carnival is, and the main rd. where the parade takes place...I have about a week of noise to deal with.

Anonymous said...

I googled the parade to find pics of my bike club and found ur page. I ride my motorcycle every year in the parade,and I've been going every year since I was a wee one. I'm born here,second generation my parents are natives but I truly love this week and the rowdiness, it's a tradition to just get buck wild only because it's the only time we can , without getting billyclubbed & arrested unless you actually do something stupid and break the law.As far as the tire thing goes it's called "pelandola" peeling out the tires to show how strong the torque in your ride is, P.R's are big on car strength and speed,not so much in the looks hence the "races" and "the incinarators" illegal drag racing on the westside, this too is a big neighborhood thing been around forever and on a boring Friday night I'll take my Altima hooptie and go cruise to see who's got the best "rotator" going these days. Cops just let you know to be on your way and don't mess with you.Back on the island for those who work hard (like me) we party hard too, so we take it to the street on these days ,like we like to say,just to clown. I'm actually a transcriber for a court reporting agency downtown and live in Hum-Heights. Totally night and day for me between work and the Hood.I like being an undercover punk ,er punkette, nice page though. Ms. Staxx