This Monday was New York's 47th annual West Indian Day Parade, a Labor Day street procession that wraps up a week's worth of festivities aimed at developing and celebrating West Indian culture, arts, history, and tradition. As usual, nearly every party involved—police, politicians, and plebians—got something unique out of the spectacle.
For elected officials, it's the perfect place for political grandstanding. If there was ever a time for Mayor Bill de Blasio to flex his ethnic pedigree by bringing along the First Lady (who is of Bajan and St. Lucian descent) and their mixed kids, this was it. Governor Andrew Cuomo showed up, too, and even tried to shake my hand—though that might've just because the Times recently ran a story about how he hates interacting with the masses.
For the commonfolk—aside from the occasional violence that comes with almost any large group of humans—the parade is one of the last good street festivals the city has to offer, with over a million people showing up each year. And for the NYPD—whose parade detail topped out at around 4,000—it's little more than an annual reality check, a "scheduled riot" that highlights just how outmanned and outmatched they are.
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