Mayor Bill de Blasio who became the 109th mayor of New York City, winning a huge bloc of the West Indian American vote, was greeted with loud applause as he and his wife Chirlane McCray welcomed colorfully dressed Caribbean nationals at a recent Gracie Mansion reception.
During the hosting of his first barbeque style event in collaboration with the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA), the politician praised the nationals for their commitment to the city, adding that the immigrants came and established themselves, and have contributed to the growth of the city.
De Blasio noted that the Labor Day carnival started small, and has grown like the community, as he recalled the year 1968 when the celebration started, adding that it has become the largest event in terms of the half a million New Yorkers of Caribbean descent who come out to celebrate, and who leave a strong imprint on the city.
“This is what the community should be proud of, said de Blasio adding, “I am proud to be the Mayor of your city.
De Blasio called his wife the most wonderful First Lady in New York, and someone who has reached out to serve the people of the City, after she introduced him to kick-start the evening’s event.
“We appreciate this city and all its immigrants, he said.
McCray, who charmed the crowd with talk about her Barbadian roots, and possibly St. Lucian heritage too, added “which ever way you look at it, “I am a daughter of the Caribbean.”
She recalled her travels with her family to many Caribbean islands, and her magical trip to Barbados where she said she connected with distant relatives.
McCray who was decked out in a floral orange gown, garnered loud laughter when she said that her favorite event was the Carnival parade on Eastern Parkway, where she could not wait to “whine-down” to the music that she enjoys, in addition to the costumes, and most of all the food.
President of WIADCA William Howard, Assemblyman Denny Farrell, Assemblywoman Helen Weinsten, Community Activist Una Clarke, Assemblyman Nick Perry, Councilmember Mathieu Eugene, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney were among those attending the event which steelpan music and fine Caribbean fare provided by Grace Foods.