West Indian Parade organizers are saying the city’s plan to shorten their Labor Day march down Eastern Parkway will kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
Organizers are upset about a decree from the police department demanding all parades be shortened by 25 percent and be limited to five hours in length.
But West Indian American Day Carnival Association officials, who run the city’s largest parade, says its event brings in $24 million in additional tax revenue — which more than covers the $3.1 million the police department would save — in total — by shortening parades.
“We generate a lot of money,” said association spokeswoman Briding Newell. “And it’s not like we take more than we give.”
Newell pointed to an Empire State Development Corporation 2003 report that said the parade routinely draws more than one million people, who pump more than $86 million into the local economy and about $7 million in local tax revenue.
Newell said the organization has met with the NYPD and agreed to shorten the route’s starting point by one block — from Utica to Schenectady avenues, but still have not agreed to keeping the parade’s roughly eight hour — 10 am to 6 pm — time length.
And that angers some participants.
“The folks in our band want to have more time to parade on Eastern Parkway, not less,” said Curtis Nelson, president of the Sesame Flyers International, whose organization sponsors several floats. “If they believe it will affect our amount of time it will affect the amount of people in both our masquerade and steel bands.”
The lack of police response has forced West Indian American Day Carnival Association President Yolanda Lezama Clark to demand that Mayor Bloomberg intervene.
“We are prepared to alter and adjust the event in other ways,” wrote Clark to Bloomberg. “However, the cuts of both time and distance seem to be across the board and do not make adjustments for character, content, history or financial benefit to the city.”
Calls to the mayor’s office were referred to the police department, which hasn’t made a decision yet.
“No final determination regarding the parade has been made,” said NYPD Sgt. Carlos Nieves.