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Grammy-winning pop star Ricky Martin, chosen as the king of this weekend's 50th annual Puerto Rican Day parade in New York City, said he's excited for the sea of revelers but hopes no one will get out of hand.
''The opportunity to share with many Puerto Ricans, remembering our island, and waving a sea of Puerto Rican flags will be an incredible experience,'' Martin, who is from Puerto Rico, said Thursday in an e-mail written in Spanish.
Martin said that Latin Americans have contributed a lot to the growth of the United States.
''There are Puerto Ricans in politics, in the Army, in art and business that have made a great contribution to the United States,'' he said. ''We are a generous people, and we are strong in the face of adversity. We are a glad, enthusiastic town with a great sense of unity.''
Parade committee president Madelyn Lugo said that while the parade has awarded other titles before such as grand marshal and padrino, or godfather, this year's parade, on Sunday, is the first to have a king.
Organizers said Martin, who is Puerto Rico's all-time top-selling artist and whose hits in English include ''Livin' La Vida Loca,'' was chosen because he is known for expressing pride in his heritage.
The annual parade up Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, one of New York's most important events, was established to recognize the culture and contributions of Puerto Ricans to the United States. Organizers expect more than 80,000 people to crowd the area. There are 2.1 million Hispanics living in New York, and Puerto Ricans are the largest Hispanic group in the city, with more than 789,000 according to city figures. (AP)