More than one million people poured onto Eastern Parkway yesterday for the West Indian-American Day Parade, the annual celebration of Caribbean heritage, culture, food, music and dance. To put that number in perspective, that's about as many people who live in the entire state of Montana, all throwing down on a three-quarter-mile stretch of Brooklyn, from Buffalo Avenue to Grand Army Plaza.
There was plenty of twerking and daggering, of course, and the music blasting from the trucks accompanying each of the specularly costumed crews was fantastically loud. Groups of giddy teenagers ran around flirting and laughing, lots of painted and powdered people were keeping the party going from last night's J'Ouvert festival, and "pop-up" food tents lined the avenue selling traditional Caribbean fare.
After violence before and during the J'Ouvert pre-parade street party, there were no reports of incidents along the route— though the NYPD was out in full force, occasionally slowing the pace of the parade by blocking the entire road with orange kettling nets.
The parade began with politicians, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Senator Chuck Schumer, who marched in a kind of random position away from the other VIPs, with an entourage of sign carriers. (De Blasio's and Cuomo's distance may have been strategic.) Next up were the corporate floats and, then, finally, more than two hours after the scheduled start, the big dance crews that make the Carnival such a popular spectacle.