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September 5, 2006


West Indian Day Carnival

West Indian Day festival

(photo by George K on Flickr)

Yesterday's annual West Indian-American Day Carnival along Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn brought huge crowds, tons of curried goat, rice and peas, and ginger beer, and enough elaborate costumes to keep the lucrative sequin, feather, bead, and face paint industries in the black for another year.

The parade is New York's biggest cultural event of the year (bigger than the Macy's Thanksgiving parade)--over 3 million people usually attend. It was my first time, and as a friend said, this parade puts all other city street festivals to shame. The costumes are amazing, but the sheer number of people is what really sets it apart. In between the endless formations of women in bikinis and headdresses were lots of tractor-trailers with scaffolding built up to hold several levels of hundreds of partiers and stacks of speakers with chest-cavity-rattling bass, and these trucks were surrounded by thousands of people waving flags and singing and dancing. The Jamaican and the Haitian trucks both looked like they were surrounded by the city's entire population from their respective countries. Great picture of an enthusiastic Jamaican crowd.

See tons of photos on Flickr.

The Daily News coverage focused on the positive, featuring quotes from excited people who came from all over to watch the parade. "I love it," said Michelle Stebila, a 28-year-old waitress from Raleigh, N.C., who was visiting the parade - and Big Apple - for the first time. "Now I want to move here. I love the vibe that is here."

But the Post's article includes a disturbingly long rundown of everybody who got shot or stabbed before and during parade celebrations.

Courtney Clementson, 23, was shot around 3 a.m. and Jordian Brooks, 11, was struck in the thigh by a stray bullet. Earlier, a 17-year-old boy was shot in the arm and another man was hit by a stray bullet.

At 4 p.m., a man in his 20s was stabbed in the neck at Nostrand Avenue and Eastern Parkway. Five minutes later, a man was shot in the leg on Troy Avenue. At 6 p.m., a 15-year-old was stabbed after he intervened in a dispute between his brother and the suspect.

There were cops absolutely everywhere at the parade, but I guess in all the excitement a lot of attacks happen anyway.

categories: Culture, NYC, Robot-on-the-Spot
posted by amy at 11:18 AM | #

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