Brooklyn rocked to the Caribbean beat and Eastern Parkway exploded in color as luminaries and lay folk danced to calypso music, pressed flesh with glittering dancers and feasted on Jamaican jerk chicken during one of the Big Apple’s biggest cultural festivals, the West Indian American Day Carnival and Parade.
The dazzling human swathe of costumed and plummed strollers painted the boulevard with all colors of the rainbow for the 43rd annual jaunt, which drew an estimated three million revelers to celebrate their national pride by pounding the pavement in eye-popping garb — much of which took months and thousands of dollars to create — or by applauding and cheering from the sidelines as the march made its magnificent way from Utica to Flatbush avenues.
Escorted by pulsating bands and a flotilla of floats, the masquerading merrymakers strode, danced and waved flags from Trinidad, Barbados, Grenada and other Caribbean nations in a jubilant expression of their ethnic heritage, while bringing the essence of the tropical islands and the age-old tradition of carnival to the borough.
The aroma of succulent, soul-satisfying treats, among them Bajan fried flying fish, added to the festivities — and that was just on Labor Day.
The entire weekend was devoted to special events and included a Kiddie Carnival on Saturday, a Dimanche Gras (Fat Sunday) celebration and an early Monday morning J’Ouvert parade of steel pan drums, which kicked off the main parade.
The rites and splendors of carnival are thousands of years old and were brought to Trinidad from France in the 1700s, and to the United States from Trinidad during the 1930s.
— Shavana Abruzzo