Carlos Lezama, who turned Labor Day from a languid holiday into a full-fledged carnival of steel drums, Caribbean delicacies, and dancers in skimpy costumes, died on Monday. He was 83.
Lezama spearheaded the West Indian–American Day Carnival from 1967 to 2001, transforming it from a little neighborhood party to an citywide event attracting more than 3 million people along Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights.
“He was a truly great Brooklynite,” said the borough’s cheerleader-in-chief, Borough President Markowitz.
Herman Hall, the publisher of Everybody’s Magazine, a Caribbean-American publication, said the Trinidadian-American’s influence went beyond the parade, bringing “recognition to the Caribbean-American community and [playing] a major role in enhancing the quality of life in New York City.”