CROWN HEIGHTS — Revelers — many painted from head to foot and draped in the flags of their Caribbean countries — lined Eastern Parkway for the 50th annual West Indian Day Parade Monday.
Thousands of people attended the West Indian Day Parade on Sept. 4, 2017. (Scott Lynch/Gothamist)
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill were among the throngs of people who took to the parade route for the celebration of island culture held each year on Labor Day.
Mayor Bill de Blasio marches with his wife, Chirlane McCray, in the West Indian Day Parade. (Scott Lynch/Gothamist)
The festivities were preceded by this year’s J’Ouvert parade, which began at 6 a.m. amid heightened security following several fatal shootings that took place on or near the route in past years.
Rev. Al Sharpton (left) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo march in the West Indian Day Parade Sept. 4, 2017. (Scott Lynch/Gothamist)
And while the increased NYPD presence extended to the West Indian Day Parade, attendees said they were still enjoying the event.
Revelers danced in the West Indian Day Parade on Sept. 4, 2017. (Scott Lynch/Gothamist)
“Security is trying to keep it more tame, but I still look forward to it every year,” said Cambria Heights resident Kaya McFarlane, 25, who has taken part in the parade for the past 17 years.
“I love the dancing, the music, the food — this is just a part of my culture,” she added.
Revelers dance in the West Indian Day Parade. (Scott Lynch/Gothamist)
Bushwick security guard Ty Best brought a Barbados flag with him to the celebration, but noted the parade is “not just about Barbados, but all cultures.”
“The past couple years have been crazy in a good way, but this year the rules are strict, with J’Ouvert getting pushed back,” said Best, 24, who attended the parade with his uncles.
“The music, to me, is always the highlight — and of course the females,” he said.
Councilman Jumaane Williams marches in the West Indian Day Parade. (Scott Lynch/Gothamist)
It was Crown Heights resident Donna Boston’s 26th time marching in the parade, she told DNAinfo New York.
“This is the day when all nations come out and show off their lifestyles,” Boston, 54, said. “There’s no difference to me now than there was in the beginning.”