Dominican Independence at Lehman

By Lennin Reyes

In celebration of the independence of the Dominican Republic and the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of that nation’s founding fathers, Juan Pablo Duarte, the 4th annual Dominicanazo moved from a middle school auditorium into one of the borough’s premier venues.

Hundreds of Bronx Dominicans brought their red, white and blue flags to Lehman Center for the free concert, which was organized by Assemblyman Nelson Castro (D-University Heights) and district leader Steve Santana.

Hosted by television personalities Nikauly de la Mota, Frederick Martinez “El Pachá,” Andy Salas, and Franco and Julissa Cruz, El Dominicanazo featured merengue stars El Jeffrey, Silvio Mora and Tulile, urban artist Black Jonas Point, burgeoning salsa sensation David Kada, and several local acts.

During Black Jonas Point’s performance, fans cheered for the star who recovered from a car crash.  Dios me dio el premio de una nueva vida (God gave me the prize of a new life),” the urban star said, accompanied by his mother and manager, when receiving recognition from Castro and Santana.

Assemblyman Castro honored each of the stars, with a special mention for bachata veteran Frank Reyes, known as El Príncipe de la Bachata (the prince of bachata), for his 20-year career. Reyes, unlike the concert’s other performers, only sang a snippet of his 2005 hit Princesa , as requested by the audience who waited hours to hear the bachata crooner deliver some hits.  “I think [Reyes] did not want to perform in front of un público duro (a tough crowd in a free concert),” Ramona Ramirez, 58, said. “If [the concert] charged some money.”

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