Today’s news:

Hindu paraders pass safely despite SW boro concerns

An estimated 50,000 people came to the event, undeterred by cold weather and a new restriction limiting the use of traditional powder and liquid in the celebration, said Ramesh Kalicharran, the parade's co-founder. He said more than 24 floats were created to ferry people along 133rd Street on the way to Smokey Park, where celebrants were addressed by such dignitaries as the former prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

"It is one of the biggest parades (in the city)," Kalicharran said during a phone interview Monday. "There was no incident. Nothing abnormal happened."

Southwestern Queens residents and community leaders had expressed safety concerns in the weeks leading up to the parade because celebrants throw traditional powders and liquids that some worried could be used as a cover for potentially lethal substances such as anthrax.

Betty Braton, chairwoman of Community Board 10, said meetings with police and parade officials before the parade improved security efforts the day of the celebration.

"It appears that things were well under control," Braton said. "The Police Department was very good about controlling the use of the powder and the liquid."

Kalicharran said he met with police officials two days before the parade to talk about safety measures for the Phagwah celebration. These included limits on the use of traditional powders and putting two police officers with each float to make sure no one jumped on or off the traveling vehicles.

Once the parade reached Smokey Park at about 3 p.m., Kalicharran said, the festivities continued with theatrical skits, songs and dances. A portion of the parade route had to be altered because a mid-afternoon fire forced fire officials to fill a portion of the city's streets.

"The parade went very successfully," Kalicharran said.

Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at or by calling 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

CNG: Community Newspaper Group