This summer has been one to remember for New York City natives, with record temperatures and humidity, to intense waves of crime, and even more fun-filled city-wide celebrations. It has been a summer full of record highs and lows for locals like Frank Camuso NYC and his wife Christine. While the month of August is upon us and this seems to mark the ending of the summer, one last big hurrah must come before we can bring the summer to a close, Labor Day weekend – and of course, the annual NYC Labor Day Parade. Like it does every year, Labor Day weekend and the Labor Day parade is the point at which kids know school is literally right around the corner, and parents like Frank Camuso and his wife Christine, thank their lucky stars that their kids are going to be back in school and out of the house!
But more than just a point at which school starts, the Labor Day parade has become a New York City institution – celebrating NYC’s thriving, and constantly expanding West Indian and Caribbean culture. Considered one of NYC’s staple parades the West Indian Day Parade as it has been known by now, has attracted a diverse and constantly growing multitude of New Yorkers and individuals around the Tri-State. Staten Island natives like Frank Camuso US and his wife Christine, born and raised on Staten Island and coming from a traditional Italian background – they have spent the last few years attending the celebration, and even brought family and friends along for the festivities. So, what exactly does the West Indian Day Parade entail?
The pre-parade party begins at 6am with J’ouvert, translates to Daybreak in French & Creole – a sort of an early morning festival held in the early, early hours before the parade. Now J’ouvert isn’t for the faint of heart, and you likely won’t see many families like Frank Camuso and his there. It’s mostly composed of young people who are dancing and getting wild in the streets. But it is a beautiful celebration of a culture that is happily thriving in New York City. So, the West Indian Day parade itself is approximately a 7-12-hour extravaganza like a New York City carnival – full of steel-pan drums, calypso bands, and interesting costumes, going down Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, New York. Vendors and stall owners sell classic Caribbean food items along the route to Crown Heights in Brooklyn. The parade begins on Schenectady Avenue and ends at Grand Army Plaza. Most people in the parade are decked out with crazy skin, feathers, sequins, and outfitted with flags of their countries, celebrating their heritage of countries like Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Barbados, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Saint Vincent, Grenada, and Guyana.