Colorful floats, elaborate costumes, politicians and merrymakers filled Brooklyn’s streets Monday for the annual West Indian Day Parade, a massive Caribbean celebration that was marred by a fatal shooting nearby before the official festivities got underway.
The annual parade — which draws about 1 million people — features loud music and louder costumes. Many revelers dance their way through much of the 2-mile-long route, which winds through some of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods and draws scores of politicians eager for a big statement just a week before the Sept. 9 primary.
“We come out to have a good time and that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” Brooklyn resident Peggy Gabriel told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang.
“A lot of boroughs come together,” said Brooklyn resident Nathaniel Martin. “A lot of people and cultures come together to celebrate the West Indian life. It’s awesome.”
“Everyone’s enjoying life being free — drinking, dancing, having fun in the streets,” one woman told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck.
“I live in Georgia, but I fly up for this event,” another woman said. “I come up for the experience.”
‘It’s for us to celebrate our culture ’cause some of us cannot go back to the Caribbean,” paradegoer Naoimi Duncan told CBS 2’s Don Champion. “So it’s a little feel of our island.”
“It feels great,” spectator Billie Guy added. “They’re all getting along. It’s love.”
The march, however, often kicks off under a shadow of violence, and this year’s was no different. Hours before the parade stepped off, a recent parolee opened fire on a crowd partaking in pre-dawn festivities not far from the parade site, police Commissioner Bill Bratton said. A 55-year-old man was killed, two other people were wounded, and the suspect was taken into custody.
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