A West Indian Day Parade dancer smiles while in costume on September 4, 2017. Getty Images

A West Indian Day Parade dancer smiles while in costume on September 4, 2017. Getty Images

Each year, more than a million people gather on the streets of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, to celebrate New York City's annual West Indian American Day Carnival, better known as the Labor Day Carnival, J'Ouvert festival or simply the West Indian Day Parade. And for good reason  the annual carnival awakens the neighborhood with colorful costumes, calypso and of course, Caribbean cuisine.

 

Parade-goers can also expect vibrant floats, paint and powder, vendors, feather headdresses and lots of dancing. The one thing the West Indian Day Parade lacks is elbow room  NYC's Caribbean carnival is considered the largest in the United States. This year is anticipated to draw as many spectators as last year. 

 

Here's what you need to know before you go to Monday's West Indian Day Parade in NYC.

 

When is the West Indian Day Parade: Day and time?

Wait, let's start with NYC J'Ouvert. The word "J'Ouvert" means "dawn" or "daybreak," which explains why it kicks off so early in the morning. J'Ouvert marks the emancipation of Trinidadian slaves. The 2018 NYC J'Ouvert festivities begin Monday, Sept. 3, 2018 at 6 a.m. and last until 11 a.m. The festival gets early-morning revelers revved up for an afternoon and evening of fun in the form of the West Indian Day Parade, which starts after J'Ouvert, at 11 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m.

 

Where is J'Ouvert & the West Indian Day Parade 2018: Route?

The J'Ouvert location is typically around Flatbush, Empire, and Nostrand avenues. Later, the NYC West Indian Day Parade route runs along Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The route stretches from Schenectady Avenue to Grand Army Plaza, and down Flatbush Avenue.

 

So which trains run to the West Indian Day Parade? The MTA's 2, 3, 4, 5, Q and shuttle trains run to various parade route points. Parade-goers should give themselves extra travel time since Monday is Labor Day (aka holiday schedule), and a high volume of travelers are likely taking the subway to the parade. 

J'Ouvert Street Closures & West Indian Day Parade Street Closures

Several Crown Heights, Brooklyn streets will be closed for the majority of the day on Labor Day to accommodate the West Indian Day festivities. NYC's J'Ouvert festival will close the streets along its route between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. Then several more streets will close in Crown Heights in anticipation of the West Indian Day Parade. These streets will be closed from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., based on last year's closures:

Street closures for J'Ouvert 5 a.m. - 11 a.m.

-Grand Army Plaza (Eastern Parkway between Washington Avenue and Plaza Street East)

-Flatbush Avenue between Grand Army Plaza/East Drive and Empire Boulevard

-Empire Boulevard between Flatbush Avenue and Nostrand Avenue

-Nostrand Avenue between Empire Boulevard and Midwood Street

-Nostrand Avenue between Midwood Street and Rutland Road

-Empire Boulevard between Mckeever Place and Bedford Avenue

-Empire Boulevard between Bedford Avenue and Rogers Avenue

-Nostrand Avenue between Sterling Street and Lefferts Avenue

West Indian Day Parade NYC J'Ouvert via Wikimedia

Street closures for West Indian Day Parade 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.

-Buffalo Avenue between Eastern Parkway and Rutland Road

-Rochester Avenue between East New York and Sterling Place

-Ralph Avenue between Eastern Parkway and East New York Avenue

-East New York Avenue between Howard Avenue and Utica Avenue

-Eastern Parkway between Howard Avenue and Grand Army Plaza

-Flatbush Avenue between Grand Army Plaza and Caton Avenue

-Ocean Avenue between Empire Boulevard and Parkside Avenue

-Butler Place between Grand Army Plaza and Sterling Place

-St Johns Place between Underhill Avenue and Grand Army Plaza

-Rockaway Parkway between East New York Avenue and Rutland Road

-Parkside Avenue between Park Circle and Flatbush Avenue

-Bedford Avenue between Eastern Parkway and Empire Boulevard

-Empire Boulevard between Flatbush Avenue and Nostrand Avenue

-Nostrand Avenue between Empire Boulevard and Linden Boulevard

-Lincoln Place between Eastern Parkway and East New York Avenue

 

West Indian American Day Junior Carnival 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

-St John's Place between Kingston Avenue and Brooklyn Avenue

-St John's Place between Kingston Avenue and Franklin Avenue

-Franklin Avenue between St John's Place and President Street

-President Street between Franklin Avenue and Washington Avenue

-President Street between Classon Avenue and Washington Avenue