Saturday, September 04, 2010

So it begins . . .

It's still two days away, but the 43rd Annual West Indian Day Carnival is already taking over Crown Heights. Above, a vendor sold ices with canned condensed milk on top to a crowd of eager kids on Eastern Parkway, while music drifted over from President Street and Franklin, where the block was closed for preparations.

If you're new to the area and haven't heard about the Carnival, this is not to be missed: it's one of the largest street festivals in the world, featuring incredible floats, would-be carnival queens dressed to the nines, delicious food, fantastic music, and somewhere over a million people lining the route. The Brooklyn Public Library has a nice history of the event here, and I've got some photos from last year's event here, but nothing really does it justice besides seeing it in person.


  1. Can't wait! Where is the best place to view the parade, in your opinion?

  2. @Anonymous: Just about anywhere on Eastern Parkway is good, I tend to prefer the couple blocks closest to my apartment. Be warned, that this is a huge event. Imagine 2 million people on the length of the Parkway. Every block is packed.

    The pedestrian islands are lined with vendor stands selling all manner of West Indian food. The Parkway itself is filled with revelers. The access roads are mostly people walking.

    The biggest problem that I have always had is with getting from one block to the next. The police tend to block the corners and herd everyone through a ten foot wide opening. It has taken me way too long to just cross a street in the past.

    Also, if you think you might actually cross Eastern Parkway, I would give up on that thought, since crossing Eastern is more of a debacle than getting past the cross streets.

    That said, even if you're stuck crossing the street, you can't escape the music and all the people dancing. Its a party from early morning on Monday (well actually from Friday night) until the evening on Monday.

  3. The complete parade route can be found at the first link, above. The finish, at Grand Army Plaza, is truly spectacular and totally bonkers, but I'm partial to watching between Franklin and Classon myself, for three reasons (besides the fact that it's the closest to my house): 1) It's on a shady stretch of Eastern Parkway that's NEAR the end but not quite as packed, so you can get close to the action, 2) it's got express and local train service, as well as the shuttle link, and 3) the booths for food, drink, and various other stuff were great there last year.