The West Indian American Day Parade is like no other in NYC. It’s family friendly, as evidenced by the troupes of adorable little kids with impressive drumming skills, or babies on fathers’ shoulders sporting their country’s flag with pride. This is not a 5th Avenue, Manhattan-style parade. The festivities pour outside of the police barriers onto the sidewalks crammed with vendors hawking jerk chicken, Shark & Bake, sorrel punch and roti. It climbs up the fronts of the stately buildings of Eastern Parkway; from old ladies waving Jamaican flags from the 3rd floor window, to shirtless bros dancing with proud beer bellies from the fire escape.
The centerpiece, of course, are the elaborate costumes that parade participants spend all year creating. Glitter, feathers, bold colors, the energy is matched only by the music (every float worth its salt has at least a drummer or three and a wall of amps). (more…)