The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

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.

Monday, September 3, 2012

West Indian Day and J'ouvert - An Amazing Day, Once Again Marred by Violence

Despite the fact that so much of the West Indian Day Parade is about "semis and generators," the Q continues to be a huge supporter of the festivities, ever since my first in 1989. The breathtaking 4am J'Ouvert celebration is perhaps more outlandish and spiritual though, and next year I plan to spend more time at that event, since it doesn't involve ear-squashing volume. J'ouvert, or "daybreak," is imbued with deep myth and meaning, and I'm thrilled to be getting to know more about its history and significance. But I missed it (it actually came down my block a couple times over the years, right down Clarkson, freaking me and the wife out, in a good way).

I rode my three-year old through the park up to Grand Army Plaza. A bizarre crowd-flow barricade allowed you to leave the park at GAP, but for some reason you weren't allowed IN the park at that entrance. So Little Miss Clarkson FlatBed Jr. stayed on the Park side and sat on the little tuft of grass up from that bizarrely European-style modern pay toilet at the bus stop heading back to Flatbush. It was a perfect location to witness the stilt-walkers, the dancing, the gaudy beautiful costumes...

We had a ball, rode back through the Park, and my love for my hometown came crashing back in as I saw every sort of family sharing what should have been a disastrously cloudy day together in the world's second greatest park. (I love saying that, though I have no idea what the first greatest park is or whether there even is a greater park. So please, don't take offense). I noted to myself that after a week of unnerving violence, the Parade seemed to come off without a hitch. But sadly, I just now saw an email from Officer Martinos. It must be very frustrating to all the wholesome revelers to every year have to confront stories like these:

Vinny from the 71st sent out this remarkably detailed account of the violence that came as the parade wound to a close:

This years Labor Day Parade unfortunately ended with violence. The last Labor Day float  T-Vice Ompa Haitian  was delayed due to the fact they had failed to hire a driver that was properly licensed for this event. After a lengthy delay the organizers were able to find someone with the proper NYS license and paperwork needed to drive their float. By the time they started a large gap between floats several blocks had grown. This float moved extremely slow and their music was the loudest of any float on the parade route. The crowd grew to unreasonable size due to the late start and slow moving pace. At approximately 515 PM in front of 650 Eastern several shots were fired from inside the overly large crowd around this float. A female was struck in her left lower back and a male in his left hip.  Both victims are expected to make full recoveries. A short time later at approximately 6PM at the corner of Bedford Ave and Eastern Parkway a male became the victim of a homicide. The victim was stabbed one time in the neck while inside this large group around this float. At this time there are no witnesses or motive to these crimes.
Damn, damn, damn.

1 comment:

AdrianLesher said...

You might also want to take notice that the attitudes of many officers interfere with doing a thoughtful job while working at the parade (and while working in any multi-ethnic setting). See e.g. "Police Workers Punished for Racist Web Posts on West Indian Parade," By Joseph Goldstein, Published August 22, 2012,