Ecuafest!

May 17, 2009

It was an overcast day and I was heading home when a police officer mentioned that I should stick around because Ecuafest was about to start.

Ecuafest? Ecuawho? Ecuawhat?

The police couldn’t tell me much more, only that they had just been assigned to work at the Ecuadoran parade that would soon head down Central Park West. So I stayed and watched the event from beginning to end.

It was tiny, as parades in New York go: a single vendor selling souvenirs, a couple of dancing groups, a couple of beauty queens, some handful of politicians with sashes across their chests and a couple of vehicles decorated with flags and banners.

The biggest attraction was a man dressed in a summer white suit who was surrounded by bodyguards. His arrival created all the pandemonium the small group of spectators could create, as young and old scrambled to take his photo, obtain his autograph, pose beside him and shake his hand. I didn’t recognize him, but I realized that he was some sort of star. Later I learned that he was Alex Aguinaga, hailed as one of the best Ecuadorian footballers of all time.

The promoters of Ecuafest (I later found it advertised on Craigslist) promised that it would go for two and a half hours, but the entire parade lasted less than half an hour, colorful, peaceful, short and sweet.

Please join us as we celebrate Ecuafest 2009, the third annual observance of the Ecuadorian Independence in the city of New York. The National Ecuadorian Day Parade will initiate this year’s festivities on Sunday, May 17th. Showcasing the largest array of Ecuadorian traditions in the form of dances and colorful floats. It will move along Central Park West from 110th Street to its routes end at the corner of 96th Street from 12:30PM-3:00PM.

QUE VIVA EL ECUADOR!!!!!!!!!!

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Selling souvenirs

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Waiting for the parade to start

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Alone but enthusiastic

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Here come the sashes

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A politician and a pretty girl

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Álex Aguinaga and his bodyguards

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Aguinaga and a fan

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Dancing down the street

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The dance group moves in step

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Young dancers watch a more experienced group

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Beauty queen in an open car

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Skirts swirling in the air

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Men wearing traditional costumes

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A vehicle in the parade

Álex Aguinaga
Ecuafest Web site
Ecuafest on Craigslist

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AIDS Walk 2009

May 17, 2009

Today (once again) I dragged myself out of bed at dawn on a drizzly Sunday morning to participate in AIDS WALK NY. And once again, this, the world’s largest AIDS fundraising event, was a complete success.

Despite the unseasonably wet, chilly weather and the rotten economy, 2,000 volunteers and 45,000 walkers came out. When all the money was counted, we’d raised a total of $5,603,409 for organizations devoted to the fight against AIDS, including prevention, treatment and the search for a cure.

Here are some photos taken at Checkpoint #1, which is one-quarter of the way through the 10 kilometer route in and around Central Park.

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Banner on a lamppost outside the park

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Volunteers setting out drinks for the walkers

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The water is waiting to be grabbed

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An orchard’s worth of apples

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Here come the walkers

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They need refreshment

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Some of the volunteers are stunned

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Walkers are hungry! They’re thirsty!

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Give them snacks and send them on their way
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The food and drink are depleted by the time the last walkers arrive

AIDS WALK NY


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