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West Indian-American Day Carnival 2013
Photograph: Filip Wolak

West Indian Day Parade 2021 guide

Immerse yourself in Caribbean culture during Brooklyn's spectacular West Indian Day Parade

Written by
Jennifer Picht
Time Out New York contributors

UPDATE: For the second year in a row, this year's West Indian Day Parade has been canceled due to growing concerns over the Delta variant of the coronavirus. Smaller educational events will take place throughout the day instead, including a walking tour of historical buildings in the area. More information can be found here.

The West Indian Day Parade and carnival, the culmination of New York Caribbean Carnival Week, is consistently one of the best things to do over the summer. The event draws close to two million people, so, yeah, you could consider this the most exciting Labor Day Parade NYC has to offer. Spend Saturday and Sunday milking what's left of summer at one of New York's beaches, then use Monday to fully immerse yourself in rich Caribbean culture and heritage. It’s bound to be one of the best summer parties in New York this year.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Labor Day weekend

When is the West Indian Day Parade?

The West Indian Day Parade is Monday, September 6, 2019. The march starts at 11am.

Where is the West Indian Day Parade?

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 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The parade starts at Schenectady Avenue and ends at Grand Army Plaza.

What can you do before the West Indian Day Parade?

The pre-parade parties begin at 6am with J’ouvert (daybreak in French), an irreverent festival held before the parade.

What happens during the West Indian Day Parade?

The procession always features skin, feathers and sequins, with flags and music that celebrate the heritage of Trinidad and TobagoHaitiBarbadosDominicaSaint LuciaJamaicaSaint Vincent and Grenada, GuyanaSuriname and Belize, among othersRevelers often dress up as political figures or celebrities and throw powdered paint at each other, while steel drums and whistles provide the celebratory soundtrack. Look out for food vendors offering traditional dishes. 

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