Thousands parade through Crown Heights for West Indian Day festivities

Thousands parade through Crown Heights for West Indian Day festivities
Photo by Marcus Stevens

Thousands of Brooklyn revelers marched down Eastern Parkway decked out in flamboyant costumes to celebrate Caribbean culture at the 52nd annual West Indian Day Parade on Sept. 2.

Storm clouds unleashed torrents of rain on the gaily attired procession, but that did little to dampen the spirits of merrymakers and elected officials, who marched from Lincoln Terrace Park to Grand Army Plaza with a procession of party floats and costumed dancers.

“We are gathered in joy — we’re not worried about a little rain,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, who to a break from campaigning for president to march in the race. “Rain is not going to stop us.”

The festivities officially began at 6 a.m. with the J’ouvert Parade, a smaller march from Grand Army Plaza to Nostrand Avenue and Rutland Road, before the main event kicked off at noon.

The parade, which is meant to celebrate the culture, food, music, and history of the Caribbean people, has become a favorite among Brooklynites — including the Borough President, who took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the event.

“I’ve been marching in this parade since I was 13 years old, and the energy and vibrancy never fails to amaze and inspire,” said Eric Adams.

This year’s event featured beefed up security following past parades that have ended in tragedy — including when Carey Gabay, a senior aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was gunned down by a stray bullet at the 2015 festivities — according to the Police Department.

The Eastern Parkway parade route was closed off to the public the night before and lined with thousands of uniformed officers and 13 secured entry points to ensure no weapons entered the crowds, cops said.

To further increase security, the J’ouvert Parade began at day-break this year, later than it’s traditional start time — ensuring that none of the events happened under the cover of darkness, according to police.

Police had been preparing for more than 40,000 participants and 1 million spectators before the rain dampened the turnout, according to Police Chief Rodney Harrison.

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at agraham@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–4577. Follow him at twitter.com/aidangraham95.