West Indian Day Parade marches through Brooklyn with added security, some violence

Policing and safety took center stage at Monday's West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn, where revelers marched in colorful costumes, some on stilts.
Policing and safety took center stage at Monday’s West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn, where revelers marched in colorful costumes, some on stilts. Photo Credit: Getty / Stephanie Keith

Despite enhanced security screening in the morning, scattered violence took place along the route of the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn Monday afternoon.

Three men were hospitalized in a shooting, a stabbing and an assault during separate incidents along the parade route, police said.

Earlier in the day, revelers packed the parade route, taking in the myriad colorful floats and costumes celebrating Caribbean culture.

“The floats, music and the rides, it’s all incredible,” said Gary Nelson, 53, of Flatbush, an entrepreneur. He is not of Caribbean descent but enjoys the parade and the culture. “It’s a celebration of life.”

Some of the revelers had no direct connection to the West Indies, but were enthralled with its culture.

Lucy Martins, 36, of the Upper East Side, who came with her brother and 13-month-old daughter, is originally from Africa, but said she loves West Indian music and culture.

“That’s what this parade is for,” she said. “The West Indians can share their culture with everyone.”

The parade included school marching bands and dozens of flatbed trucks that piped in DJ music from the Caribbean. The music caravan was led by the NYPD Band, which featured steel drums and a horn section.

A group of women from Washington, D.C., dressed in carnival feathers of white, blue, yellow and gold, and bikini bras and shorts, dazzled onlookers.

“It was a great parade,” said Geri Kingston, 60, of the Brooklyn Lions Club after marching.

J’Ouvert, the annual predawn celebration of the New York Caribbean Carnival, serves as a prelude to the parade but has been marred by violence in recent years. This year’s morning festivities marked the first with a tighter police presence and a later official start time in an attempt to increase security and end a past string of shootings at the event,

Jade Millan, an auditor from Hell’s Kitchen and a first-timer at the West Indian Day Parade, said she had never attended because she had feared for her safety. Millan, who moved to the city from St. Lucia 10 years ago, decided to go this year and stay closer toward Prospect Park, where she thought she’d be safer.

“It’s all New York love,” she said of the festivities. “I feel safe. It doesn’t feel like there’s any problems or it’s sketchy or anything like that. It’s very organized.”

With Anthony M. DeStefano, Maria Alvarez and Ellen Yan