By Paul Frangipane, Jimin Kim and Mark Davis
CROWN HEIGHTS — Monday was Labor Day, which — in Brooklyn — means the West Indian Day Parade and preceding J’Ouvert celebration turned Crown Heights into a massive celebration of Caribbean culture.
The combined events drew thousands of spectators as the neighborhood was decorated with people dressed in colorful costumes and traditional attire.
J’Ouvert, the pre-dawn observance that ramps up to the West Indian Day Parade, is celebrated with steel pan drumming, dancing and reveling (which includes motor oil, paint and baby powder body painting).
The name means daybreak, but starting last year and continuing this year, the celebration began at 6 a.m. as a way to help curb violence by pushing the beginning of the parade into the morning light. Several thousand police officers also accompanied participants as they made their way across Empire Boulevard and down Nostrand Avenue.
The West Indian Day Parade, which has been held in Crown Heights since 1969, was full of traditional Caribbean head dresses, dancing and flags. The parade kicked off at Ralph Avenue and made its way across Eastern Parkway to Grand Army Plaza.
The devil is a traditional Carnival character often worn by J’Ouvert participants.
A woman dances in the back of a truck while holding the flag of Grenada on Nostrand Avenue.
In celebrating, people spray each other with paint, motor oil and baby powder.
An attendee covered in oil wearing a hat with horns.
A marcher covered in motor oil wears the flag of Trinidad and Tobago around her face.
Participants dressed in the devil costume make their way onto Nostrand Avenue.
Accompanied by steel pan drumming, J’Ouvert is a time for dancing.
The NYPD deployed several thousand officers to patrol J’Ouvert.
A parade participant dances her way down Empire Boulevard.
A reveler makes his way down Empire Boulevard.
A reveler wearing a knit hat with demon horns poses for the camera.
A man waves the flag of Trinidad and Tobago on his way to a police checkpoint at Nostrand Avenue to enter J’Ouvert.
Sometimes, paint is the only costume needed to participate.
A participant dressed in a devil costume poses.
A man plays a steel instrument walking down Empire Boulevard to go through a police checkpoint to enter the J’Ouvert celebration.
A man holds a drenched umbrella on Nostrand Avenue.
The flag for Trinidad and Tobago is flown high.
A dance troupe towards the front of the West Indian Day Parade.
A man makes his way dancing down Eastern Parkway at the West Indian Day Parade.
Left: A reveler dances through the parade. Right: Portrait of a parade participant.
After J’Ouvert, people brought the celebration up to Eastern Parkway where dancing continued.
Parade participants sought cover while making their way down Eastern Parkway.
Left: A J’Ouvert attendant makes his way to the West Indian Day Parade. Right: A woman dances down Eastern Parkway.
A girl holds the flag for Trinidad and Tobago on the left while a boy proudly waves the Jamaican flag next to her.