NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - New York City expects more than a million spectators to come out for the annual West Indian Day Parade. The parade is about 20 blocks long and will take place on Eastern Parkway on Monday. This year, the NYPD says it is stepping up security more than ever before.
In preparation for the parade, medians in the road have been removed to make room for floats. That leaves some neighbors wondering about their safety every other day of the year. Some people living in Crown Heights say they don't understand why medians installed on Eastern Parkway less than a year ago have now been removed. In their place - a bunch of orange traffic barriers and police tape. City agencies said they removed the medians to make room for floats. A DOT spokesperson says the department is looking into alternative traffic plans to help pedestrians on the road, but no specifics on what those plans are, or when any type of work will be done.
At a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city's main focus at the moment is to just to keep people safe during the parade and especially during J'Ouvert, which are the pre-carnival festivities often plagued with violence.
Incoming Police Commissioner James O'Neill said the NYPD will have 200 light towers in the area, compared to just 40 last year.
The extra precaution comes one year after Carey Gabay was shot and killed during J'Ouvert. The 43-year-old Harvard grad was a former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
J'Ouvert begins around 2 a.m. Monday.