West Indies flock

The West Indies parade happens every year in my neighbourhood (Crown Heights) in Brooklyn.  It makes sense that it’s here because the neighbourhood is quite black and you can barely walk more than a block without crossing a jerk chicken store.  Apparently the festival moved here from Harlem 50 years ago.  It’s been ours ever since, and I figured I should take a look.

The parade was exquisitely decorative and noisy.  It looked similar to the Day of the Dead, if I’m to believe what I’ve seen in the movies.  The streets were a swarm of sweaty, lively cavorters.  The floats were huge and colourful, depicting fantasy creatures and birds.  Actually most of the costumed women looked like birds, too, with waggy tails and bright feathers framing their head.  I admired their commitment, as the skimpy costumes didn’t leave much room for purses or water bottles.

Like most parades, spectators were lining the streets, eating exotic fare, and cheering when the moment took them.  National pride was evident as the onlookers decorated themselves with flags, bracelets and facepaint depicting their ancestral homelands’ flags.  Food vendors were available in every style imaginable.  There were even a few guys dressed up in suits, selling mini-bar sized alcohol bottles out of fancy briefcases, right there on the street.

For a chance to connect with my neighbourhood, eat something different, and watch an outrageously flamboyant celebration right in my local hood, this was pretty cool to see.

How the Islands Came to Crown Heights – https://www.eater.com/a/mofad-city-guides/crown-heights-nyc-caribbean-history

Wiki – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_Day_Carnival


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