CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn (PIX11) — This weekend New York City is in the midst of a joyous Labor Day weekend celebration it hasn’t seen in three years.
The West Indian-American Carnival Parade is back after a two-year pandemic pause and many hope it will be bigger, better and safer than ever. Even though the parade is Monday, partying started Sunday.
The Sunday party, behind the Brooklyn Museum, was called Amnesia and it promised the hottest DJs, great food, dancing and a wonderful celebration of Caribbean culture.
“This weekend means a lot to me,” Pinky Brattz, a reveler told PIX11 News. “I was born in Trinidad and Tobago and to see our culture come to another country is amazing.”
Cheryl Bisram, who was born in Guyana, explained what it meant to her.
“It’s a celebration. It means being free, being liberated, being happy,” Bisram said. “Showing up for the culture of all the Caribbean islands. It’s just a celebration.”
And this is just the warmup for the estimated 2 million spectators and 100,000 participants in what many consider the most beautiful and joyous parade in New York City. J’ouvert, the first part of the festivities, starts on Labor Day at 6 a.m. at Grand Army Plaza and continues southbound on Flatbush Avenue.
The West Indian American Day Carnival Parade begins at 11 a.m., westbound along Eastern Parkway from Ralph Avenue.
Police will be screening with metal detectors starting Sunday at 11 p.m. through Monday 11 a.m. No large backpacks weapons or alcohol are permitted.
“We want to respect our communities that are celebrating,” Jeffrey Maddrey, chief of Patrol NYPD, said at a news conference. “We’re going make sure they have a good time. But we’re also going to be prepared for anything that comes our way, and we’ll have the resources to address it.”
There have been some acts of violence during the carnival, including the death of governor’s aide Carey Gabay from a stray bullet in 2015. At the recreation center bearing Gabay’s name, his widow and other leaders talked about how they want this year’s parade to bring people together.
“This is a convergence of cultures,” Trenelle Gabay, widow of slain official, told PIX11 News. “It’s just important that we all stay safe while we celebrate as one.”
And police are hoping that this peaceful partying from continues all through Labor Day.