Threw the toddler on the back of my bike (in a proper carrier, installed using directions, sort of) and pumped the pedals up to Franklin Avenue to catch the Kids Carnival - the warm-up to Monday's main event, featuring youngsters from 1 on up in full regalia, or as the Dancehall folks might say, Reggaelia. My STRONG advice is to hit this smaller Saturday parade every year and skip the Eastern Parkway mess. Years ago I was a fan, but the Labor Day thing is too dang crowded and the waits between floats (or Mas Bands, short for Masquerade, meaning a group of people getting together and making a loud motored spectacle for the parade) are interminable. The smaller and way more entertaining kiddie Carnival is more manageable, and therefore enjoyable, in my humble blogpinion.
But here's the thing - both parades are RIDICULOUSLY loud, and yes that's the point...or is it? I mean I'm a rock 'n' roll guitarist since I was 14. I've played in loud rock bands my whole life. I've rehearsed in tiny basements with the amps on 13 and the drums in my face, and I've been front row center at probably hundreds of shows with crappy acoustics and soundsystems pushed beyond reason. But nothing comes close to the wretched pain induced by the Soca DJ's with their gas powered generators and ginormous speaker racks. And lest you think I'm being culturally insensitive, I want you to know that it's not the bass that my bourgeoisieness finds so hideously dangerous (though massive low tones have been known to cause physical damage). It's the high-end stuff that's a Menace 2 Society. And these are kids, for god's sake, dancing in this parade. Little kids don't know any better. I'm sure one in two suffers temporary hearing damage, if not permanent, every time this gig goes down.
But of course it's a blast, and you gotta go, especially if you live around here. If you do go on Monday though, take Mama Q's advice: do yourself a favor and invest in some earplugs, or you will seriously be courting tinnitus, a chronic condition that will make you unable to enjoy silence ever again.
And about that child carrier that I now have on the back of my bike that I swore I would never do because it's so obviously too dangerous? Ah screw it. It's fantastic fun! Though I gotta say it feels exactly like when I walk across Flatbush with my baby...like at any minute a Gypsy Van will plow into us, and I gotta just put my faith in statistics that it's not going to happen. Yes, it's like that. Except instead of 30 seconds of street-crossing it can be a half-hour ride. Am I nuts to think this is okay?
Yeah, man. I'm old, I know it. And while you're laughing at my uptightness, just remember...don't smoke or do drugs!!! Stay in School!! And don't have unprotected...anything!!!
The Q at Parkside
News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.