Costumed dancers, colorful floats, and thousands of revelers made their way up Eastern Parkway on Monday, celebrating Caribbean pride in the 45th annual West Indian Day Parade.
Despite the celebration’s advanced age, the crowds were thick as ever, although the event ended a bit early this year, attendees said
“Compared to last year, it was just as crowded,” said Sabine Franklin, who marched with Public Advocate Bill De Blasio’s entourage. “The event seemed a little short this year, though.”
“I remember last time, the parade went into 7 pm, but this year I saw the last float coming down Eastern Parkway at 4:30 pm and the Sanitation trucks were literally right behind the float,” she said.
And participants say the same sense of pride that sparked the first West Indian Labor Day celebration 45 years ago was still evident at the latest parade.
“They were playing Haitian music and there was this huge, giant red bus, and there were literally a thousand people walking around it,” Franklin said. “I really felt proud to be represented as a Haitian in such a powerful way.”
Following the parade, however, it wasn’t all fun and games.
At 6:30 pm, an argument between two men on St. John’s Place near Utica Avenue in Crown Heights ended ugly, with a 26-year-old man fatally stabbed in the neck.
A half-hour later, another stabbing occurred on Eastern Parkway near Bedford Avenue. The victim was taken to Kings County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The parade itself was not without incident — a 24-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman were shot, although their injuries were not considered life-threatening.
“The young lady was dancing in the street and there was loud music coming from the truck,” a witness told The New York Post. “At first she thought she got stabbed. But when she pulled up her clothes and looked at the wound, she realized she was shot and she freaked a little bit. She wasn’t hurt badly. She was able to walk over and speak to the cop and the ambulance came and took her away on the truck. It happened very quickly and nobody heard the shot.”Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cn