The poem begins with the speaker listing off the names of tropical fruits: "Bananas ripe and green, and ginger-root," etc. The speaker doesn't offer any narrative context, such as "I was out walking and looked into a store window and saw piles of tropical fruit..." Instead, the reader is instantly immersed in the speaker's excitement over "Cocoa" that isn't processed but rather still in its "pod," "alligator pears" (avocados), and "tangerines and mangoes and grape fruit." The lush visual imagery suggests that the speaker simply doesn't know where to direct their gaze—there's so much to see!
These tropical goods, the speaker continues, are "Fit," or good enough, to win first prize "at parish fairs." This is an allusion to the poet's native Jamaica, which is broken up into units called parishes (much like the U.S. is divided into states).
But the poem doesn't take place in Jamaica; as the title tells readers, it's set in New York. And the polysyndeton of these lines evokes the speaker's wide-eyed wonder at seeing all these fruits from their homeland in such a distant city, as though "the tropics" have been transplanted thousands of miles away: the use of coordinating conjunctions—"And tangerines and mangoes and grape fruit"—might make readers think of the way the speaker's eyes are darting from one thing to the next, trying to take it all in at once.
Adding to the poem's pleasing, musical rhythm are alliteration ("pods" and "pears," "fruit, / Fit for the highest prize at parish fairs"), consonance ("Bananas ripe and green, and ginger-root," "And tangerines and mangoes and grape fruit"), and assonance ("highest prize"). The intensity of all these overlapping sonic devices evokes the heightened emotional state of the speaker, although the reader won't discover the significance of the speaker's encountering "The Tropics in New York" until after the stanza break.