Thousands of feather-clad fun-lovers flocked to Eastern Parkway to celebrate their Caribbean heritage at the West Indian American Day Parade on Sept. 4.
The carnival celebrations in Crown Heights and Prospect Heights got off to a tragic start when attackers gunned down two people and injured two others at the pre-dawn J’ouvert party, but attendees of the day-time fete say it was fun for the whole family.
“I enjoyed watching my daughter,” said Flatbush dad Patrick Desir, who attended the parade with his 8-month old daughter and wife. “She was dancing, laughing, bouncing up and down, and people were waving at her.”
Desir, who is of Haitian descent, said he and his family mostly spent their time waving at colorful cavalcade of dancers and floats blasting music to the more-than-a-million onlookers, and sampled the different Island foods on offer.
For others, it was a chance to catch up with pals and support local businesses.
“I like the fact that it was an opportunity to see musicians, see old friends, and make new friends,” said DJ Yard-Z, who spun reggae and soca tunes for the crowds near Franklin Avenue. “It was very much a good party and a good opportunity for vendors to sell merchandise.”
The event started as a modest procession in Harlem in 1964, then moved to Crown Heights in 1969, where it has grown to become the largest parade in the whole city.