Prospect Heights Brooklyn (WABC) — Labor Day weekend in Brooklyn is one of the biggest cultural celebrations in the city. This weekend was filled with events honoring New York’s Caribbean community – all in the lead up to Monday’s Mardi Gras.
“I’m from Jamaica, so listening to the music and being in the parade will be a great experience,” Bianca Brown said.
“My parents are from Haiti, and I grew up listening to these vibes, listening to music, and it’s always been a way for us to come together and enjoy each other’s company,” Betty Louis said.
Flags of Caribbean countries will fly proudly along Eastern Avenue. The festivities begin at J’ouvert before dawn, followed by the New York Caribbean Carnival – complete with traditional costumes, music and dance – that brings Brooklyn to the island.
“It’s an exciting time for the community. The carnival is one of the largest in the U.S., and it brings in $300 million in events for the weekend, so it’s an exciting time for the Caribbean American community. A very exciting time,” said MP Brian Cunningham.
Activities throughout the weekend include Saturday night’s Panorama Show – a reenactment of a Trinidadian tradition through choreographed competitions by steelpan musicians.
“It’s from classical music, so it’s like listening to the Steel Symphony Orchestra,” says Steel Sensation musician Tristan Japsi.
“Steelpan represents a bit of a shift in your spirituality, really just joining in as a community and really embracing ourselves and our culture,” Lewis added.
A Children’s Carnival will be held for the youngest children in the community to explore traditions.
The morning J’ouvert celebration at Grand Army Plaza and the march along Park Avenue later in the day were major security events for the NYPD, making sure weapons and alcohol didn’t get mixed into checkpoints.
In this year’s policing event, the drone made its debut. When the police receive a call to help disperse the crowd, the drone can reach the designated location within seconds and send 50 different pre-recorded messages.
Drones will also help police decide whether to deploy more resources. Mayor Adams and the NYPD insisted Friday that the drones would only be dispatched in response to 911 calls and would not spy on anyone’s backyard BBQ.
Sunday’s event is called the “Sunrise Day Gala”—it showcases Caribbean food, fashion and music, but it’s laid back and ends early, giving people time to rest before the early morning festivities. It’s also an opportunity to put the finishing touches on Monday’s homemade food and outfits – something that puts a lot of time, love and energy into them.
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