Delayed until 6 a.m. and surrounded by strict security checkpoints, J'Ouvert 2017 opened in anticlimax Monday. Checkpoints quickly became chokepoints as barricades and NYPD officers brandishing metal detectors screened the mas, jab jab, and steel band players along Flatbush Avenue and Empire Boulevard in Crown Heights and Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
As dawn broke, many J'Ouvert's earliest attendees wandered Flatbush despondent, clearly missing the flowing crowds and darkness of years past. "This is Donald Trump's J'Ouver," one reveler said as they surveyed the scene.
But those in search of a blockbusting party ultimately got one—a steady stream of partiers coursed into the parade route for hours, and by 8 a.m. long sections of Flatbush, Empire Boulevard, and Nostrand Avenue were packed just like J'Ouverts past, only brighter. The streets shook with undeterred masses intent to savor the modified holiday. Oil spilled, speakers pusled, steel pans sang, paint flew, limbs and flags waved; almost just like old times.