Brooklyn's an epicenter of Caribbean-American life.
You can eat at mom-and-pop West Indian restaurants. Or, shop at stores selling foods and items from the Caribbean. You can listen to Afro-Carib music at clubs and concerts.
Over 600,000 New Yorkers are of West Indian heritage, according to census figures, and Brooklyn boasts many neighborhoods with large Caribbean populations.
So, if you want to participate in a Caribbean style carnival, or go to a celebration of West Indian culture, where to go?
The Caribbean American Labor Day Parade (also sometimes called the West Indian or Caribbean Labor Day Parade) is a major New York City event. Preceeded by days of pre-events, including a viewing of the steel drums usually held at the Brooklyn Museum, the actual parade itself is held on Labor Day Monday. It takes place on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn.
This colorful parade, complete with costumed marchers wearing extravagant feathered head dresses, floats, marching bands, steel band music, vendors selling roti and other local street food, live performers up and down Eastern Parkway, and more, has drawn up to two million visitors.
- When and where is this year's West Indian Day Parade?
- Learn more about the Caribbean American Labor Day Parade
- Fact Sheet about the West Indian Carnival, published by the Brooklyn Public Library
- 2011 Schedule of events
- For more information about the Parade:West Indian-American Carnival Day Association (718) 467-1797
2. June: Caribbean-American Heritage Month in Brooklyn and Nationwide
Since 2005, June has been recognized as National Caribbean American Heritage Month. This commemoration marks a month of remembrances, celebrations, and educational programs focusing on the history and contributions of Caribbean people to this continent, from the 16th century through today.
As one of the organizing entities, the Washington, DC-based National Caribbean American Heritage Foundation describes the mission of Caribbean-American Heritage Month on their website:
"Through the commemoration of this month, we hope to ensure that America is reminded that its greatness lies in its diversity, with Caribbean immigrants from founding father Alexander Hamilton, to journalist Malcolm Gladwell, who have shaped the American dream."
Attend a free afternoon screening of independent films in celebration of 6th Annual Caribbean-American Heritage Month. Free.
4. Brooklyn Borough Hall Celebrates Caribbean American Heritage Month
The Brooklyn Borough President's Office, in conjunction with local organizations such as the Caribbean-American Heritage host an annual Caribbean-American Heritage Day of festivities at Brooklyn Borough Hall. This event was begun in 2005.
- Where: Borough Hall Plaza in Downtown Brooklyn
- When: 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.
- What: A half-day Caribbean cultural marketplace. Music and dance performances, as well as fashion shows, at lunchtime and in the early evening after 5 p.m.