The Three Kings Visit New York

The Three Kings came and went, but not before passing through New York City to celebrate with hundreds of children that came out for the parade organized by the Museo del Barrio on January 4, an atypically sunny Friday for the month.  This Christmas celebration, whose historic and religious background is quite complex (much like Christianity itself), has been a part of the Caribbean and Latin American cultural traditions for numerous centuries.

In Puerto Rico, for example, on the eve of the Three Kings’ visit, children leave grass in a shoebox for the horses of Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltasar, thanking them for the gifts they will receive the next day. In fact, this tradition has transformed over the years in a very creative way. As such, the kings arrive on horseback, not on camels, and are celebrated with promises [es] carved by santeros (artisans of religious images) that are a source of inspiration and joy.

Without a doubt, the Puerto Rican and Latin American communities that are alive and vibrant in the metropolis that is New York have not stopped celebrating this day with much excitement, especially the children. So much so that the streets of East Harlem were paralyzed to see the passing of the carriages, the magi on stilts, Peruvian dances, capoeira, giant puppets and even two camels that live in a sanctuary in New Jersey.

Here we share a series of photographs taken by Puerto Rican artist Josué Guarionex that show some of the faces he managed to capture amidst all the commotion.

Jesús "Papoleto" Melendez, poeta nacido y criado en El Barrio, fue elegido como rey emerito de la parada.

Jesús “Papoleto” Melendez, a poet born and raised in East Harlem, was chosen to be the emeritus king at the parade.

Los danzantes de música tradicional peruana.

Dancers performing to traditional Peruvian music.

Osvaldo Gómez nos deleitó con su hermosa presencia.

Osvaldo Gómez delighted us with his beautiful presence.

Casi podemos sentir la energía de esta banda en esta foto.

We can almost feel the energy of this band in this photo.

Cientos de niñas y niños desfilaron con sus coronas de papel desde la calle 106 hasta la calle 116 y la avenida Park.

Hundreds of boys and girls with their paper crowns from 106th to 116th Street and Park Avenue.

La destacada reportera María Hinojosa, así como la activista Angie Rivera, fueron elegidas como las reinas magas para esta ocasión.

Distinguished reporter, María Hinojosa, and activist, Angie Rivera, were chosen as the queens for this event.

Fátima Shama, comisionada de la Oficina de Asuntos del Inmigrante de la ciudad de Nueva York, fue elegida como una de las reinas magas.

Fátima Shama, commissioner for the New York Office of Immigrant Affairs, was chosen as one of the queens as well.

anya Torres, artista puertorriqueña radicada en El Barrio, fue una de las madrinas de la parada junto a Nadema Agard, Cecilia Gastón, Christine Licata y Sandra Morales-De León.

Tanya Torres, a Puerto Rican artist residing in East Harlem, was one of the godmothers at the parade, Nadema Agard, Cecilia Gastón, Christine Licata and Sandra Morales-De León.

Caminar en las calles de Nueva York junto a tantos niños es un tremendo regalo.

Walking along the streets of New York with so many children is a tremendous gift.



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    On her way home, she stops at a news stand to buy a newspaper.

    Before leaving, she says to the clerk, “I hope you don’t mind my asking, but how old do you think I am?”
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    A little while later she goes into McDonald’s and asks the counter girl the very same question.
    The girl replies, “I’d guess about 29.” The woman replies with a big smile, “Nope, I’m 50.”

    Now she’s feeling really good about herself. She stops in a drug store on her way down the street.

    She goes up to t he counter to get some mints and asks the clerk this burning question.
    The clerk responds, “Oh, I’d say 30.” Again she proudly responds, “I’m 50, but thank you!”

    While waiting for the bus to go home, she asks an old man waiting next to her the same question.
    He replies, “Lady, I’m 78 and my eyesight is going.
    Although, when I was young, there was a sure-fire way to tell how old a woman was.

    It sounds very forward, but it requires you to let me put my hands under your bra.

    Then and only then can I tell you EXACTLY how old you are.
    They wait in silence on the empty street until her curiosity gets the best of her. She finally blurts out, “What the hell, go ahead.”

    He slips both of his hands under her blouse and begins to feel around very slowly and carefully.

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    After a couple of minutes of this, she says, “Okay, okay…How old am I?”

    He completes one last squeeze and then removes his hands and says, “Madam, you are 50.”

    Stunned and amazed, the woman says, “That was incredible, how could you tell?

    The old man says, “Promise you won’t get mad?”

    “I promise I won’t.” she says.

    “I was behind you in line at McDonald’s!”

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