This year's J'Ouvert celebration kicked off with new security checkpoints and restrictions, as well as a daylight start time, on Monday morning. On the whole, many people were upset by the long lines for the "New Year's Eve"-style screening that the NYPD had promised.

"This is fucking crazy. How're you gonna scan thousands of people" with just a few scanners, wondered Christine Lord, a Bedford-Stuyvesant resident. "Everyone else has a parade just fine—you have all the parades in Manhattan, and they don't do this. You have police coming from out the city and have no clue about our culture. By the time Mas gets to the end, J'ouvert is over,"

She added, "That's exactly what they want to happen. They're trying to frustrate us. But it's not gonna happen because next year we're coming back again, you bet."

The heightened security measures were enacted this year after deaths in recent years: Tyreke Borel, 17, and Tiarah Poyau, 22, were fatally shot in 2016, while Carey Gabay, 43, a deputy counsel to Governor Cuomo, died from a stray bullet in 2015. When announcing the change, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "From the beginning there was a decision to fundamentally change the reality, including the hours — to daylight — and the level of screening to make sure there are not weapons anywhere nearby."

Still, the logistics of screening hundreds upset many revelers eager to celebrate their culture.
"This is embarrassing," said Henry Scott, who used to live in New York before moving to Philadelphia. "If the parade is supposed to start at 6 a.m., and you gotta check every person, how's this going to work? The people who come to enjoy themselves don't come out for this."

Others had a more patient outlook. Robert Mitchell, originally from Trinidad and now a Flatbush reident, said, "I've been going since the 80s. Its nice because security is good this time, they finally got it right."

Mitchell, who plays in the Roi Pierre Band and was dressed in a lion suit, offered praise to law enforcement, "The police is doing a wonderful job. I tip my hat to them."

The atmosphere, with J'Ouvert now beginning hours later than it traditionally has, was also very different. Crown Heights resident Dianna Bond, a social worker, observed, "I understand if it saves a life it's worth it. There's not too many people out here. I think it kept a lot of people away. This is empty, no people compared to what's out here usually."

Don't worry—spirits are still running high:

Reporting by Jake Offenhartz