Brooklyn’s annual West Indian Day Parade prevailed on Monday, with masquerading revelers in colourful, eye-popping costumes, steel pan, and Caribbean flags turning out to Eastern Parkway despite the pouring rain.
“I’ve been waiting for this all year,” said Keiandra Blair,18, of Brooklyn who marched in the parade for the first time. “Rain or sun, I’m still dancing. Nothing is going to stop me. That’s our culture,” said Blair, who is of Guyanese descent and wore a bikini-style ensemble with blue and white-feathered wings and a blue and white headdress.
Raindrops started to fall shortly before the parade kicked off to smaller than usual crowds at 11 a.m. and continued throughout the day. At some moments the downpour was so bad floats had to halt their processions. Vendors huddled together under their tents to keep dry and warm as gusts of wind pushed fat drops of rain sideways onto their tin-foiled and plastic-wrapped offerings.
Sanitation trucks on clean-up duty made their way down the Parkway around 4 p.m. — two hours before the parade was scheduled to end.
But the gloomy forecast could not deter parade diehards. “No one is going to rain on my parade. I’m still having a good time. It got soggy, but I’m still standing,” Sarah Samuel, 23, of Philadelphia said of her homemade costume — white angel’s wings.
“The environment is electrifying – it’s on fire,” said 27-year-old Mischa Clarke, a Brooklyn resident, who donned an elaborate pink, yellow and purple-feathered costume during the parade that celebrates Caribbean culture. “I love it, it’s fun,” she said. “When the music starts, I’m in another zone… I love dressing up in costumes.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio and wife Chirlane McCray were similarly undaunted by the rain. De Blasio even ditched his umbrella partway through their procession.
“We’re not worried about a little rain right? Rain’s not going to stop us!” He said to attendees during breakfast at Lincoln Terrace Park ahead of the parade.
“Dance between the raindrops and celebrate this beautiful culture,” the mayor said.
Governor Andrew Cuomo also marched in the parade and told reporters “it is one of my favourite parades.”
“New York wouldn’t be New York without the West Indian community,” Cuomo said. (IMC)