What once began as private Carnival celebrations in 1920's Harlem, has since grown into the largest West Indian festival in the world, and moved to Brooklyn. While Toronto's Caribana festival is equally impressive in sheer size - drawing over a million visitors each year - the Brooklyn Labor Day Parade more than doubles the number of revelers!
In its organized form, the festival started out in mid-1940s Harlem, organized on 7th Avenue by Trinidadian Jesse Waddle. After a five year hiatus in the mid-60s, the festival resumed on Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn.
Thursday before Labor Day marks the beginning of festival weekend. Come rain or shine, the following Monday sees the parade explosion, from Utica Avenue along Eastern Parkway to Grand Army Plaza.
This past Monday was no exception, with a beautiful August day giving way to the floats and masqueraders. Bringing to life the vivid costumes and decoration, Labor Day parade looked every bit as extravagant as one would hope for.
Among the Caribbean food stalls and blasts of soca, a group of self-proclaimed Crown Heights "Jew-maicans" made the NY Daily News headlines serving up kosher jerk chicken.
If that didn't quite float your float, there was still plenty of original butterfly shrimp kebab, curried chicken, curried goat, patties and codfish fritters to go around.
And yes, the rum punch is still going strong. Since last year, we've had the time to gather more than just a few punch contenders on our Drinks pages.
Posted by: Wonder
Photo by: JMazzoola on flickr