The colorful West Indian American Day Parade presents many opportunities to sample cuisines that don't often show their face in New York. Many of the stalls, such as the Guyanan vendor who offered labba, aren't affiliated with restaurants; they prepare food only for catered events and other special occasions. So I had to wait 12 months after the sweltering finale of the one year's parade, when my stomach had no room even for the thought of labba, until the following year's event, when I made my way in late morning toward a meeting with curried Cuniculus paca. Plucked from my takeout tin with shreds of roti, the labba meat (shown below) was coarser than rabbit, but the flavor was not dissimilar; neither was the wasteland of little bones left behind.
The West Indian American Day Parade is held each year on Labor Day; it runs along Eastern Parkway, in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. You'll find food vendors along the parallel roads to the north and south of the parade route. Though it's possible to cross Eastern Parkway, this becomes more and more difficult as the parade proceeds; by mid-afternoon, in many places it's difficult to maneuver at all. A good strategy is to arrive by late morning at the Schenectady Ave. end of the parade route, work your way along the booths on one side of the parkway, cross over as you near Flatbush Ave., and eat your way back to Schenectady Ave., or as far as your stomach can take you.
For many more photos, see my slideshow.
West Indian American Day Parade
Eastern Parkway between Schenectady and Flatbush Aves., Crown Heights, Brooklyn