A peaceful J’ouvert in Brooklyn due to combined efforts at parade
By Todd MaiselPosted on
JÕOuvert celebration went all night for many of those West Indian descent and even those not from the Caribbean. (Photos by Todd Maisel)
West Indian residents celebrated the annual J’ouvert that kicked off at 6 a.m., peacefully and colorfully early this morning, much to the relief of city leaders.
Thousands of police officers were deployed to the parade route from Flatbush Avenue next to Prospect Park, winding down Empire Boulevard to Nostrand Avenue, before ending on Church Avenue in the heart of the West Indian community.
Security was tight, as the NYPD sought to prevent a repeat of violence that has all too often spoiled previous J’ouvert festivities. Celebrants had to enter the parade route through dozens of checkpoints where police with hand held magnetometers checked for any type of weapons.
As a result, residents and visitors were treated to steel bands, reggae music from the numerous floats and celebrants adorned with costumes, but mostly coated in paint or even in motor oil.
J’Ouvert revelers cover their bodies in a kaleidoscope of paints as well as mud or motor oil, some dressed as blue or red devils, to dance the streets as an expression of liberation from the constraints of the past that included slavery and indentured servitude — and in celebration of the ancestors who have gone before them.
The J’ouvert precedes the massive West Indian Day parade that is held later this morning on Eastern Parkway. The bigger parade features detailed costumes and pageantry that is not commonly found at the J’ouvert which is considered an expression of freedom.
This year, many celebrations and all-night parties preceded the J’ouvert, leading to a more modest turnout and more exhausted celebrants.