West Indian–American Day Carnival: Caribbean culture in New York
Every Labor Day, the West Indian–American day carnival celebrates Caribbean culture and heritage in New York.
Fri Aug 24 2012
Photograph: Syd London
The annual West Indian–American Day Carnival draws close to two million people to Crown Heights in Brooklyn each year. During the seven-hour New York carnival, steel-pan and calypso bands in elaborate costumes march down Eastern Parkway, and vendors sell homestyle island grub along the route. The pre-parade festivities begin before dawn with J’ouvert ("daybreak" in French), an irreverent festival held before the main event. Revelers often dress up as political figures or celebrities and throw powdered paint at each other, while steel drums and whistles provide the celebratory soundtrack.
West Indian–American Day Carnival
This year there was even more reason to party: 2012 is the 50th anniversary of Trinidadian and Jamaican independence.
An outfit incorporating teddy bears is something you don't see every day—or even every West Indian-American Day.
Before you party in the streets, get schooled on the annual parade's history, sights and sounds.
Paint-throwing and political costumes at 4am.
Caribbean culture in New York
We check out three restaurants where West Indian grub—and tropical drinks—are the draw.
From Coney Island to the Lower East Side, here's where to find sultry rhythms for scorching weather.
Skipping that Caribbean vacation this year? Let this Brooklyn walk transport you to the tropics.