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Boy's death on minds of West Indian American Day paraders

Costume dancers make their way along Eastern Parkway

Costume dancers make their way along Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn as they take part in the West Indian Day Parade. (Sept. 2, 2013) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Eastern Parkway was the focal point of a time-honored city tradition Monday -- the 46th Annual West Indian American Day Parade.

Caribbean groups were joined in Brooklyn by mayoral candidates City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Anthony Weiner and Bill de Blasio, and comptroller hopefuls Eliot Spitzer and Scott Stringer.

The killing of a 1-year-old boy the night before cast a shadow over the Brooklyn festivities. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, at the front of the parade, said, "Today, we are all grieving." Mayoral candidate John Liu called for a moment of silence during a breakfast before the parade kicked off along Eastern Parkway.

Several other mayoral contenders also mentioned Sunday's shooting of the toddler, Antiq Hennis.

There was a heavy police presence along the parade route, which has been the site of violence in recent years. Two people were fatally stabbed at the parade last year.

Violence erupted again near the route Monday, but not until about an hour after the march ended. Two unidentified males were shot and wounded near Bedford Avenue, but were expected to recover, police said.

The candidates tried their best to find some joy in the festivities. Some rode on their own floats, like Weiner, while the rest walked, shaking hands and greeting revelers face-to-face.

Adolfo Carrion, running for mayor as an independent, said too many, especially minorities, feel disconnected from the candidates.

"People have to get involved and we have an obligation to come out," he said. Paradegoers said they enjoyed the energy and atmosphere of the event, which stretched from Schenectady to Flatbush avenues.

"You've got a whole bunch of people celebrating Jamaica and the islands. It's always incredible," said Ray McIntryre, 38, a Jamaica native who lives in Crown Heights. With AP

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