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West Indians Bring the Heat to Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn

7 Sep
Queen of the Parade

After a 2 year in person absence, The West Indian Labor Day Parade was in full force. Thousands of marchers kept true to the tradition of events that go on during Carnival in the islands of the Caribbean. The 53rd annual parade was nothing short of spectacular with masqueraders, costumers, and tractor trailer trucks with the tallest and loudest speakers of any parade in NYC. Hundreds of fans marched with their favorite groups along the 2 mile stretch of the parade route on Eastern Parkway. Since NYC is frigid cold during the actual time of Carnival in February or March, parade organizers decided to recreate the fashion and tradition of Carnival in hot early September. Once I made my way onto Eastern Parkway near Washington Ave., the enticing aroma of seasoned food drew me to see what was on the menu. Kiosk after kiosk offered all kinds of West Indian foods from roti to jerk chicken to fried fish…the list was endless. As I was chowing down some delicious food from Kedisha Dickinson’s kiosk, I heard the sound of the steel drums coming up the parade route. The NYPD Brass Band got this party started with some really good beats.

Best Costume of the Parade

Raise the Flag
NYC Mayor Adams Enjoying the Parade

Mayor Adams went out of his way to socialize and greet the crowd. Most other mayors just walked and waved…not this Mayor. He went from one side of the Parkway to the other greeting the crowd and taking selfies with them. He is truly a Mayor of the People. Not too far behind him US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had his usual bullhorn to help work the crowd. He jokingly asked them, “What is the biggest island in the Caribbean?” Someone yelled out “Jamaica” . He quickly answered…”No. It’s Brooklyn” and they all laughed. NYS Attorney General Leticia James also got plenty of love from the crowd. Once all the politicians left and the Catholic Church float said their prayers, then all hell broke loose. A stylish group all dressed fashionably in white walked up the parade route keeping with the original theme of the first parade. Then the first of the trucks with the tallest and loudest speakers arrived with a group of masqueraders. The TAO group was just getting warmed up for what would be an amazing day of music, dance and celebration of everything that is West Indian.

Keeping the Fashion Tradition Alive and Well

Pink and Gold Make a Pretty Combination

Stilt Walkers Having Fun

One of the things this parade is famous for is all the beautiful costumes and masqueraders. Some pay attention to each detail as they try to win points at the judges table set up in front of the Brooklyn Museum. The trucks and emcees set the tone by playing lively music that gets everybody ready to bring their high level energy to the parade. Followers just hop over the railing and join in on the fun making it one big party. One group that was having lots of fun was the Sugar Candy Mas float. They were amazing. Not too far behind them were the Sesame Players with their steamy outfits and hot dancing. Each group had the opportunity to impress the judges. The TAO final presentation was very good with colorful costumes and lively dancing. A group of females had the best line dance I have seen in years. Rounding out that group were the Sesame Players with colorful costumes and having lots of fun for the judges. This is truly one of the biggest and best parades of the city. Although previous years events had some incidents where police intervention was required, this year was a joyous and peaceful event.

Many Flags, One Voice…see ya next year
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