FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: Monday, August 7, 2000
Contact: Sunny Mindel / Michael Anton (212) 788-2958
MAYORAL TASK FORCE DELIVERS SAFETY GUIDELINES TO THE MAYOR FOR THE WEST INDIAN AMERICAN DAY PARADE
The Mayoral Task Force which -- working in conjunction with the West Indian American Day Carnival Association, Inc. ("Parade Organizers") -- reviewed operations at the West Indian American Day Parade today delivered its findings in a report to Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. The Task Force evaluated possible safety measures and developed safety guidelines that will be applicable to this year's parade.
The Mayor appointed the Task Force after last year's parade was marred by tragic accidents. In one incident, two children were killed and four other participants were injured when a supply van lurched forward and pinned the children against a truck. In another fatal incident, an eighteen-year-old, who was frightened by another spectator carrying a snake, became entangled in the wheels of a passing parade float while attempting to get away from the snake.
The Task Force's membership includes: Counsel to the Mayor Dennison Young, Jr.; Deputy Mayor for Community Development and Business Services Rudy Washington; and also representatives from the Police Department, the Department of Transportation, the Community Assistance Unit, the Street Activity Permit Office, the Office of Emergency Management, the Law Department and the Parks Department.
The Task Force worked closely with the Parade Organizers in developing the following safety guidelines:
1. Modifications to floats and trucks to enhance driver visibility and prevent injuries involving their wheels;
2. An NYPD pre-parade review of driver and vehicle suitability;
3. The addition of NYPD officers riding in passenger cabs pulling floats and sound trucks to enhance safety and control spacing between vehicles;
4. The issuance of identification cards for participating children;
5. Heightened enforcement of regulations regarding animals which may cause spectators fear or alarm;
6. The use of towed non-motorized support vehicles in the parade rather than motorized supply vans;
7. The inclusion and training of parade marshals; and
8. The NYPD has recommended, and the Task Force agrees, that no permits will be issued to vendors or sponsors that allow them to sell or distribute alcohol or allow alcoholic beverages to be consumed at, or in conjunction with, the West Indian American Day Parade, or any other large parade.
"The West Indian American Day Parade is an exciting New York City tradition," Mayor Giuliani said. "The Parade Organizers cooperated with the Task Force's effort to help prevent accidents like those that occurred last year, and to improve the overall safety of the event. The adoption of these safety guidelines is expected to make the parade safer for the parade participants as well as the approximately 2 million spectators that attend each year."
The West Indian American Day Parade is the largest parade in New York City. The parade's origins date back more than 2,000 years, and the first parade in the Americas took place approximately 200 years ago in Trinidad. The tradition first arrived in New York in Harlem in the 1930s. Since the 1960s, the West Indian American Day Parade has been celebrated in Brooklyn. The parade generally kicks off at 11:00 a.m. and runs along Eastern Parkway culminating at the reviewing stand in Grand Army Plaza, and ends at 6:00 p.m.