Carnival is the colorful, creative and joyful celebration of Caribbean culture, which was historically celebrated as the last opportunity to release some energy, emotions and let loose before the beginning of Lent. In most countries, pre-Lenten celebrations are held in the cold month of February, but due to the lively nature of Carnival in New York City, indoor confinement simply did not work.
The New York Caribbean Carnival (also known as the West Indian American Labor Day Parade) in New York City started when Ms. Jessie Wardell, a West Indian New Yorker, began hosting Carnival in the form of massive costume parties in indoor ballrooms in Harlem throughout the 1930s. However, the parties soon became too large for Harlem’s grand ballrooms, so Ms. Wardell moved the party to an outdoor parade in the 1940s.
The Carnival Parade continued growing in popularity and, in 1967, it was brought to Brooklyn. Today, the Carnival Parade is organized by the West Indian American Day Carnival Association, which was formed in 2001 to better organize what was already a notable Labor Day Weekend event, hosting one million people each year!
With five full days of activities in Brooklyn, The New York Caribbean in Brooklyn has become a true celebration and expression of Caribbean culture and pride. Parade participants represent various Caribbean nations, spectators represent countries from all around the globe, and together they dance to steel band music, calypso and soca music!
Date: Monday, September 4, 2017
Start time: 11 a.m.
Where: Eastern Parkway between the Grand Army Plaza and Utica Avenue in Brooklyn.
What to put into Google Maps: Grand Army Plaza and Brooklyn Museum are good places to view the parade and easy to navigate to
For the weekend’s concerts and festivities, please see WIADCA’s website.
For the Parade Map, please see this link.
How do I get to the Caribbean Carnival?
The best way to get to the Carnival Parade will be to hop on the 2, 3 or 4 trains to the Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum Station and the B or Q trains to 7th Avenue (Brooklyn. For the mid-section of the parade, take the 2, 3, 4 or 5 trains to Franklin Avenue, or head to Kingston Avenue on the 2, 3, 4 or 5 trains for the end of the parade route.
The areas around Grand Army Plaza and the West Side of the park are serviced by Citibike, but please keep in mind that there will be large crowds, so bike slowly when you get close to the parade!