Though gunshots rang out toward the end of the festivities, over one million people turned out for the annual West Indian Day Parade Monday to witness vibrant song and dance. NY1’s Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
Bright colors and big costumes are the main draws of the West Indian America Day Carnival, also known as the West Indian Day Parade.
It's an annual Labor Day tradition that attracts a crowd numbering over one million.
With that many people partying in and along Eastern Parkway, it's bound to get loud.
“It's very, very loud. It's like the road be vibrating,” said one young resident.
With thousands of people dancing in the street, it's hard not to get swept up in the sea of sequins and feathers.
But forget dancing feet: keeping the elaborate headgear balanced is a feat in its own right.
“They put it on tight, but it's fun to wear it,” said one dancer.
“The hat represents our culture. Tropical flowers, traditional tea shoots — it's like a little paradise on our head,” said another.
Meanwhile, paradegoers wore their pride on their sleeves, backs and heads, with folks of all ages from a dozen different island nations celebrating their culture as one.
“It brings us back to reality of being back in Trinidad and all West Indian nations to unite today as one,” said one resident.
“All the Caribbean people come together, black, white, green, pink, blue — we love each other. Even though we don't know each other, we still love each other and this is our day. This is what we live for the whole year, to come to this day,” said another.
Sadly, as in some years past, this celebration was not without incident. Gunshots rang out toward the close of the parade, marking an unfortunate end to what many had hoped would be a day without violence.