The event was filled with colorful costumes and the sounds of the Caribbean islands. Food vendors lined the parade route while revelers danced and waved flags celebrating their heritage.
“The parade attracts millions,” said Councilman Jumaane Williams before the parade. “Today we will be enlightened with beautifully costumed garments, cultivating sounds of traditional Caribbean music, and partake in festivities to celebrate the heritage of a vibrant culture.”
Williams said despite criticism of the annual event, which many say attracts a violent element, it’s still an important display of Caribbean culture.
The parade was once again marred by violence. Two individuals were stabbed in separate incidents along the parade route, and another individual was shot near the area.
There were also multiple shootings reported in the area of the J’Ouvert festival, which precedes the parade, although it's unclear if they were related to the festival.
The NYPD and elected officials worked with parade organizers this year on a number of security measures to ensure the safety of the participants, however due to the roving nature of the celebration there’s not one defined area to secure.
Two years ago while leaving a J’Ouvert celebration, Carey Gabay, an aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, was killed when he got caught in a firefight between alleged gang members.
Cuomo, who marched in the parade, used the two-year anniversary of his death to announce the five 2017 winners of the Carey Gabay Scholarship Program.
The winners were Jasleen Kaur from Ozone Park, Mirelly Pena from the Bronx, Isaiah James from Albany, Avik Kadakia from Bellerose, and Daquan Taylor from the Bronx.
The students chosen exemplify Gabay’s commitment to social justice, leadership, and mentoring, as well as his personal story of succeeding academically despite having an economically disadvantaged background.
The scholarship covers all costs of college attendance, including tuition, room and board, college fees, books and supplies, and transportation and personal expenses.
“Carey was an inspiration who believed in the power of public service, and these outstanding students exemplify his core values, determination and commitment to hard work," Cuomo said. "These scholarships will help us carry on Carey's memory, values and commitment to improving the lives of all New Yorkers."