Tuesday, September 08, 2009

42nd Annual West Indian Day Parade, Brooklyn 2009

The Annual West Indian day Parade never disappoints. Music, food, parade, festivities and everything in between here and the smallest village in Trinidad is on full display at New York's largest parade. From a photographer's standpoint, it's challenging yet fun to photograph this parade. Challenging because of the enormity of the crowd, and everything happens in a flash so you have to be quick! But it's also fun, because there is so much to photograph. I've been going to the West indian Parade since I was a kid growing up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn where the parade begins. I have fond memories of going as a family, sitting on my dad's shoulders to view the vivid display of costumed revelers gyrating to the beats of island music. We also used the opportunity to sell items like leather handbags made in Haiti, Records, and anything else we wanted to get rid of, because with a crowd of a million or so people, we were sure to sell our wares.

This year, I went as the lone photographer, seeking to capture an aspect of my West Indian heritage and to share amongst the pride . The parade is many things to many people. But to me, it's a day to celebrate West indian Heritage, Culture and Pride, embracing our rich history and paying homage to our not-so delicate past. All in all, it was a great day. In all four hundred photos I've taken, I edited down to this lot. Hope you enjoy it!

Click on any image to enlarge.

Colorful costumes and masqueraders are a highlight of the West Indian Day Parade.

Millions of spectators flock to Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn for the annual West Indian Day Parade making it the largest parade in New York.

Another aspect of the parade that is as apparent as the spice-scented air is the heightened sexuality, which plays out right in the open. Don't be mistaken though, the "dry hump" that is pictured here, while reminiscent of intercourse, is actually the way many young parade goers express themselves with this provocative dance to Calypso music.

Feeling "nice". Whether by spirit or sauce, either way it's all good. This woman's blissful look immediately caught my attention as I was reminded of how I too sometimes wish I was away from it all, if only for these few moments.

Vendeuse de drapo (Flag seller with Haitian flags prominently displayed).

FOOD! Another reason to head to Eastern Parkway for the West Indian Day parade. You can sample the savory spiced blends from virtually any caribbean nation ...in some cases, on the same block! I had an oxtail roti that was slammin'!

Jerk chicken

Fritters being prepared from the back of a truck. This reminded me of how resourceful black people are, and how for some folks back home, this is a matter of life and death.

Grilled corn on the cob.

Filling a roti with curried goat.

Of course I had to give props to my Haitian people representin' at the parade!

Young Haitian crew. At least they were keepin' it real by speaking our native tongue called creole.

Haitian grandmother enjoying the festivities. I wish I had known my grandmother.

Haitian truck and crowd in the parade.


These cops obviously wished they were anywhere but here!

Words of encouragement from the troupe's coach.

Moko Jumbie, (man on stilts).

Island trinkets for sale.

Young girl gets a perfect view of the parade...from the top of her dad's head.



johnlo said...

Nice set of images. :)

lostfoundagain said...

really great photos!

btw, the stilts people are called Moko Jumbie. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moko_jumbie

Ocean Morisset said...