[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#5002: NYPD transforms Carnival (fwd)

From: Lois E Wilcken <makandal-ny@juno.com>

Because I live so close to the heart of the action, I go to New York's
Carnival on Eastern Parkway nearly every year.  I particularly like to
sit with some Haitian friends who run a concession near the Franklin
Avenue intersection.  Among other things, we sip a little Barbancourt.

Not this year.  I've just received an NYPD notice through my Community
Board that lists "Safety Guidelines" for the Parade.  Some have to do
with parking.  Some have to do with authorizations, permits, and ID cards
(very controlling).  The last two are typed in capital letters and have
to do with alcohol.  Vendors will not be permitted to sell alcohol.  No
spectators will be allowed in the area with alcoholic beverages.

The rationale given is that three people among the two million present
died in accidents last year.  I know how tragic that must have been for
their families--I very recently lost my mother.  But three deaths from
accidents among two million people within a day could be well below the
norm.  Maybe not, but it disturbs me that this administration uses the
possibility of death from accidents--it can happen with or without
alcohol--as an excuse to take the central meanings out of Canival.  Other
non-alcohol related restrictions:

	All children must wear ID cards and stay away from vehicles
	No person may board a vehicle without credentials

I spoke with some young Haitian Americans last night.  They're gearing up
for Monday, and they intend to party as they always have, regardless of
Mr. Guiliani and company's efforts to control everything.  The
authorities might provoke more trouble than they claim to be preventing.

I'm not advocating drunkenness, but Carnival has always been the occasion
for turning the social order upside down and inside out.  Can you imagine
the mayor of Port-au-Prince banning the consumption of alcohol during the
Haitian Carnival?

Lois Wilcken
La Troupe Makandal - New York City's #1 Haitian Roots Ensemble
621 Rutland Road, Brooklyn NY 11203
718-953-6638 / makandal-ny@juno.com