2005-08-18 / Top Stories

Mayor Hosts Reception For West Indian American Day Parade

Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week hosted a reception at Gracie Mansion to celebrate the 38th Annual West Indian American Day Carnival Parade. Guests were treated to entertainment by the Jambal-asi Steel Band, stilt walkers from the Cultural Youth International Inc., and were met at the door by greet-ers wearing Carican Costumes. Joining the Mayor at the reception were West Indian American Day Car-nival Association President Yolanda Lezama-Clark, Deputy Mayor for Policy Dennis Walcott and various elected officials.

“Nothing showcases the spirit and vitality of our Caribbean community like the West Indian Ameri-can Day Carnival Parade,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Their creativity and incredible entrepreneurship can be seen along the parade’s route, on Utica Avenue in Brooklyn, on Jamaica Avenue in Queens and through-out the rest of our City. New York is better because of this community’s drive, and we are here to celebrate this energy.”

At the reception, the mayor and the West Indian American Day Carnival Association presented awards to four recipients in recognition of their support of the organization and the parade. They are:

Randolph Hilaire, better known as “Count Robin,” is a Calypsonian and Steelband pioneer and is being honored for his dedicated support to the West Indian American Day Carnival Association and Caribbean Culture since 1971.

Neville Jules is a member of the Steelband Tuner and Arranger and is being honored for over 50 years of dedication and support to Steelband Music. His name is synonymous with the birth of the Steelband movement in Trinidad and Tobago.

Gilbert Marchany is a Senior Vice President for HealthFirst and will be accepting on behalf of the company for its generous corporate support over the years.

Morris Stewart is a Masquerade Costume Maker, Designer and Wire Bender and is being honored for his outstanding work in Carnival Arts for some 38 years in New York.

The West Indian American Day Carnival was started in Harlem in the early 1930s and moved to Brooklyn in the mid-1960s, where it became the largest festival and parade in the United States. Five full days of Caribbean heritage and tradition take center stage in Flatbush from September 1 to Sep-tember 6.

Building on the parade’s legacy of inclusiveness, this year’s theme is Better Together in 2005 . The parade will take place on Monday, September 5 and will run along Eastern Parkway from Utica Avenue to Flatbush Avenue, through Flatbush and Crown Heights. The mayor will serve as the Grand Mar-shall in this year’s parade. This year, the Mayor’s Office contributed $150,000 to the West Indian American Day Carnival Association in an effort to help with the organizations increasing expenses and continue one of the City’s longstanding traditions.

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