New York is home to one of the largest populations of immigrants from the Caribbean. Many New Yorkers originally hail from or have roots in countries such as Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad, Grenada, and Antigua, among many others. Due to this high concentration of West Indians, it is possible to enjoy the best the Caribbean has to offer by sampling the food, music, and culture of the region while visiting New York City.
The borough of Brooklyn offers the widest variety of Caribbean restaurants, especially in its neighborhoods. At Crown Heights, Flatbush, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens there is a major West Indian presence, The popular restaurants Culpeppers, Gloria’s Caribbean Cuisine, and De Hot Pot all offer delicious West Indian dishes such as roti, fried plantains, macaroni pie, and jerk chicken or goat, as well as beverages like sorrel and mauby.
Reggae and calypso are two musical genres that originated in the Caribbean, and their popularity and influence can be experienced throughout many parts of New York City. For the best immersive musical experience, seek a night club with a soca music DJ, attend a steel band concert, or clear your Saturday night schedule to attend any of the exclusive, reggae-themed parties available in Brooklyn, Queens, or Manhattan.
Cultural festivals take place all year round, like Bajan Day in Canarsie Park and the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival in Jamaica, Queens. Perhaps the most well-known festival is the West Indian American Day Carnival, held annually on Labor Day, which is the culmination of a weeklong celebration of Caribbean cultural festivities. In addition to food and music, many parade revelers don bright, colorful costumes. Due to the spectacle and celebration, the parade has attracted over a million attendees in recent years. Fortunately, you can find apartment rentals and other places to stay along the parade route on Eastern Parkway.