As usual, the NYPD has announced plans for heavy security and a heightened police presence at the annual J’Ouvert celebration and West Indian Day Parade. J'Ouvert—the rousing street celebration that signals the start of the West Indian Day Carnival—will kick off in Crown Heights early Monday morning, beginning at 6 a.m.
Much like last year, there will be 13 security checkpoints where participants can enter the parade, with officers stationed at each of them to screen for weapons and alcoholic beverages. It’s worth noting that large bags, including backpacks, won’t be permitted inside the parade route. The roughly two-mile J’Ouvert parade route begins at Grand Army Plaza; then moves south on Flatbush Avenue, east on Empire Boulevard, and south on Nostrand Avenue; and concludes at Midwood Street. That parade ends at 11 a.m., with the subsequent West Indian Day Parade beginning shortly thereafter.
“The formation area and parade route will close to the general public on the previous evening [of] Sunday, September 1,” the NYPD has announced in a press release. “NYPD staffing will be similar to last year, with several thousand uniformed personnel working.” The document notes that there will also be a whole range of response teams—including the Emergency Service Unit, Strategic Response Group, and Critical Response Command—present in the event of emergency.
Additionally, Pastor Gilford Monrose, who leads the 67th Precinct Clergy Council (known as the “God Squad”), says about 100 clergy members and violence interrupters will be working along with the NYPD to help provide security. Monrose told Gothamist/WNYC that he and other clergy have been meeting with the NYPD for the last three months to discuss safety measures for J’Ouvert this year. That prep work has included making about 50 home visits to individuals they identified as being gang- or crew-affiliated, with the purpose of heading off tensions ahead of the celebration.
The MTA has also revealed details of service changes pertaining to the parade. Here’s what to know:
As a reminder, the Manhattan-bound platform at Sterling St is closed due to ongoing station rehabilitation work. As an alternative, for service to Sterling St, take a Manhattan-bound 2 train to President St and transfer to a Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College-bound 2. Or, use nearby Winthrop St or President St stations. For service from Sterling St, take a Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College-bound 2 train to Winthrop St and transfer to a Manhattan-bound 2. Buses in the area will be rerouted. The following bus routes in the parade area may be subject to delays and reroutes: B12, B14, B17, B41, B43, B44, B44 SBS, B45, B46, B46 SBS, B48, B49, B67 and B69.
Because of the West Indian-American Day Parade on Monday, Sept. 2, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. along Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, certain subway entrances in the parade area may be affected and buses in the parade area will be rerouted. The Eastern Parkway-Brooklyn Museum 2 3 4 station will be closed and bypassed from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 2. As an alternative, customers are advised to use the nearby Grand Army Plaza or Franklin Av stations instead. At the Crown Hts-Utica Av 4 3 station, certain staircases will be designated entrance/exit only. 4 trains will make all local stops in Brooklyn. Buses that serve the area will be affected by reroutes, detours, and frozen zones. Customers should anticipate bus detours and delays on the following routes: B12, B14, B17, B41, B43, B44, B44 SBS, B46, B46 SBS, B48, B49, B67 and B69.
In 2016, two people were killed and several others injured in a shooting during the J’Ouvert festivities. The prior year, two people were also killed, among them Carey Gabay, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's first deputy counsel, who was hit by a stray bullet and later died from his injuries. In 2017, some revelers expressed frustration with the intense security and hours-long wait to enter the celebration. “This is fucking crazy. How're you gonna scan thousands of people?” one Bed-Stuy resident told Gothamist that year.
Additional reporting by Yasmeen Khan.