Labor Day celebrates the triumphs of unions in securing workers’ rights, but in Brooklyn it signals another thing: the arrival of the West Indian Day parade celebrating Caribbean heritage in the most fabulous way possible.
The colorful carnival along Eastern Parkway typically serves as a bookend for the summer season, but this year was extra special as celebrants marched for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw the parade canceled for the past two years.
And no one was happier for the homecoming of the steel pan jamboree than the children, who marched in the Junior Carnival on Saturday, Sept. 3.
As is custom, Crown Heights transformed over Labor Day Weekend for carnival festivities, with youngsters taking center stage on Saturday as they marched along St. John’s Place en route to a stage at the Brooklyn Museum to show off their wares.
Festivities continued on Labor Day with the early-morning J’Ouvert carnival at the crack of dawn moseying down Nostrand Avenue, followed by the full carnival along Eastern Parkway.
Though the city’s Caribbean community is very diverse — with immigrants from Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad, Guyana, the Bahamas, Barbados, and many other locales showcasing pride for their home — the annual gathering in some respects demonstrates how the larger Caribbean diaspora in New York has come to be a community in its own right.