Five Tips for Your First West Indian Day Parade Experience
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Julian Myles

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Julian Myles

Five Tips for Your First West Indian Day Parade Experience

new york city
Spencer Jones
Spencer Jones Aug 25, 2023

The West Indian Day Parade will light up Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway in September. If you’re bummed about summer’s end, this high-energy, colorful event is the perfect distraction.

Here are five tips and things to expect at the West Indian Day Parade.

Know the Route and Plan for Huge Crowds

This parade usually starts around 11 a.m., and it draws about 3 million people. It procession is in Brooklyn, as it starts on Schenectady Avenue, carries down Eastern Parkway and concludes at Grand Army Plaza by Prospect Park.

In the event of an emergency, it helps to familiarize yourself with your surroundings, so that you have an escape route.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

Sneakers and flats are your best allies. They’re more comfortable to dance in with soca, dancehall and reggaeton playing.

Leave the Car Behind and Watch Your Belongings

With all the crowds and street closings, driving or getting a taxi is a bad idea.

Taking the subway is the fastest, most efficient way. You can catch the 2, 3, 4 and 5 trains to Franklin Avenue.

Leave valuables at home, and don’t put your phone or wallet in your back pocket.

Come with an Appetite

This is your chance to gorge yourself on island cuisine. There are many food stalls serving jerk chicken, fried fish and soul food options. Wash it all down with a piña colada, or track down one of the nutcracker vendors.

Bring Your Flag

Plenty of spectators and participants bring their flags, which is part of the fun.

Since you’ll be in Brooklyn, expect to see a lot of Jamaican representation. Barbadians, Trinidadians and Haitians also have a sizable presence. Central American and South American countries like Belize, Honduras, Guyana and Brazil also are there.

No matter where you’re from, unity and good vibes are the goal.

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