Millions converge for massive Caribbean carnival in New York
Revelllers participating in Caribbean carnival. Photo: CMC

NEW YORK (CMC) – Over three million spectators and thousands of masqueraders and revellers are expected to converge on Monday, in picture-perfect weather, on one of Brooklyn’s major thoroughfares, Eastern Parkway, for the annual West Indian-American Day Carnival Parade.

The parade, which takes place along a three-and-a-half mile-long-route, follows the Caribbean J’Ouvert, which began at 6:00 am (local time).

The culture of the Caribbean will be on full display along the parade route, as masqueraders, display gigantic and small costumes, and revellers sway to the rhythm of the Caribbean, moving to hypnotic soca, reggae and Kompa, among other, music blaring from massive speakers mounted atop huge flatbed trucks.

Officers from the New York Police Department (NYPD) will be deployed along the route, with barricades installed to try to prevent onlookers from encroaching on the spectacle.

The NYPD also said that drones will be deployed overhead for the first time in the history of the parade, as part of the NYPD’s ubiquitous security detail.

“It’s just an exciting time for the community,” said New York State Assemblyman Brian Cunningham. “This Carnival is one of the largest carnivals in America, but it also brings in US$300 million of revenue for the weekend.

“So, it’s a very exciting time for the Caribbean-American community,” said Cunningham, the son of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 43rd Assembly District encompassing parts of the parade route.

The Board of Directors of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA), organiser of the Carnival festivities, said that the New York Carnival Week is being held under the theme, “World Stage 2023”.

The Carnival Week, which began last Thursday and ends on Monday, features the return of WIADCA’s signature Junior Carnival Parade, YouthFest and Panorama Steelband Competition on Saturday.

Parade Grand Marshals are Caribbean-American Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants; Richard Davis, the Guyanese-born president of the labour union, TWU Local 100; Guyanese Ann-Marie Adamson, assistant vice president of Community and Corporate Engagement of the health insurance company, EmblemHealth; George Gresham, president of the labour union 1199SEIU.

Trinidadians Michael Joseph, Harmony Music Makers founder, steel band music instructor and cultural practitioner; Kay Mason, cultural practitioner; and Jewel Alexis-Josey, Junior Carnival presenter.

Two weeks before, WIADCA officially kicked-off its Carnival Week at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

The spectacle featured costumed and steel bands, dancers and artistes, among others, during the three-hour-long ceremony. Artiste Eddy Charles, “all the way from Trinidad and Tobago”, of the popular Trinidadian band, Traffick, and the Ghanian band, Wazumbians, made their debut.

There were also “Jab Jab” and other revellers from J’Ouvert City International, organiser of the Caribbean J’Ouvert, as well as Metro Steel and Harmony Steel orchestras. Yvette Rennie, the Trinidadian-born president of J’Ouvert City International, attended the extravagant show and briefly addressed patrons.

Mayor Eric Adams said he wants “this parade [on Labor Day Monday, a public holiday] to be tremendously successful”.

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