Culture / Parks

Hunts Point celebrates its waterfront

Angely Mercado

Marchers began at Hunts Point Riverside Park and ended at Barretto Point Park for the annual Fish Parade on June 15.

Music and kids’ events highlight tenth annual Fish Parade

The usual colorful assortment of marchers led this year’s annual Hunt’s Point annual Fish Parade as it made its way to Barretto Point Park on June 15th. Students from the PS 48 band played their instruments, accompanied by revelers wearing paper mache hats.

Parishioners from Real Life Church wearing red chanted “God Loves Hunts Point” and one huge yellow horse head helped mark the parade’s 10th anniversary.

And Seis del Sur, the six photographers who grew up in the South Bronx and who made such a splash with their retrospective show last winter were honored as Grand Marshals.

As they do every year, marchers and supporters began at Hunts Point Riverside Park en route to Barretto Point Park.

Visitors from other boroughs were among the 300 or so who attended the day-long celebration of the Hunts Point peninsula.

Barbara Peluso drove over from Queens with her 20-month-old son, despite her husband’s wariness of the neighborhood’s reputation.

“I came because it was listed in Time Out kids,” she said. “It was critics’ recommendation, and I figured that I’d come because I heard that there were changes going on in Hunts Point.”

Peluso was overjoyed to “see a family event at a location that was renowned for prostitution years ago.” She also wanted her infant son, Anthony, who is half-Italian and half-Puerto Rican, to be exposed to community and culture in a predominantly Hispanic area.

Yissel Rodriguez, 26, and her four young children marched in the parade, along with with their grandmother, who also took part in the Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade. Rodriguez wanted her children to learn more about their grandmother’s group and about Puerto Rico.

“I want them to see where they came from and to enjoy it”, she said, while her four- and- six-year-old daughters were painting, then added, “And they did. The big one was so excited, she got up at six o’clock in the morning saying ‘oh let’s go, I’m dressed’”.

Gordon Edwards, 18, marched in the parade with Reshma for New York, an organization formed by Reshma Saujani, who is running for Public Advocate on the Democratic ticket this year.

“I want to get to know the Bronx more. One of the ways I did that was to join Reshma”, said Edwards, “this is also an opportunity to see more since I don’t always come out to Hunts Point.”

Edwards said his favorite part of marching in the Fish Parade was “the energy from the kids. They put enough work into it so that people can see that ‘Hey, it’s a Fish Parade’ and see more of what this place is like and what it’s about.”

There were lots of recreational opportunities for children. Some had a chance to pick chickens up out of their coops, while others helped paint on a canvas set out by the Bronx Children’s Museum. Others had their faces painted.

The Bronx’s unique and innovative music scene played a part in the parade, as it does every year. Columbus Prep played hits like “Stereo Hearts” and some oldies, in honor of the 40th anniversary of hip-hop, which had the crowd in the park’s amphitheater clapping along. Soon after, Floor Royalty Crew showed off their old-school hip-hop moves.

A DJ spun Puerto Rican traditional plena and salsa mixes, enciting random dancing to break out among the partyers and picnickers across the Barretto park lawn behind the amphitheater. Two emcees from Circa 1995 performed several songs, in English and Spanish. Cheers erupted from the crowd to mentions when the Bronx and Hispanic culture were referenced.

Danny Peralta, director of arts and education at The Point CDC, which created and sponsors the parade, said the parade helps Hunts Point residents celebrate the arrival of the warm weather months

“It’s really about unifying this community and also about kicking off the summer in a positive way and just celebrating our community,” he said.

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