The big West Indian Day parade returned to New York City on Monday for the first time since the beginning of the COVID pandemic in a triumphant blaze of song, cuisine, and color.
On Labor Day Monday, thousands of revelers lined Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway as marchers dressed in colorful paint and costumes wound their way through Crown Heights to honor J’Ouvert, the annual celebration of the city’s West Indian community.
The procession had been canceled the previous two years due to COVID-19 fears, according to celebrants and local and state authorities who turned out to honor the anniversary.
“It’s been two years since we marched down the parkway with the music pulsating through our bodies, with all of us celebrating all that we have,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said.
“What this parade and this carnival celebrates is the contributions of immigrants, particularly immigrants of the Caribbean,” Letecia added.
The J’Ouvert party kicked off the festivities on Sunday and lasted all night.
On Monday morning, motor oil, brilliantly colored paint, and empty liquor bottles were still strewn throughout the procession path.
The occasion commemorates the abolition of slavery in Trinidad.
In previous years, the festivities have been marred by violence. Still, Mayor Eric Adams stated on Monday that there had been no shooting related to the festival this year—and commended coordination between different city agencies for keeping the turmoil at bay.
“Historically, we get the parade and then law enforcement later,” Adams said.
“We did something new this year—we did law enforcement first,” Adas added.