Halloween in New York starts early. This year I saw a girl in the midst of July wearing a tiger mask while leaning against the door of a subway car…
Joke aside, Halloween seems to start as early as Septemberish over here. You can see the first decorations popping up along the houses and entryways in early fall. The fences are decorated with fake cow-webs and scary pumpkins, an enumerable amount of lights blinking around the doors and windows, no doubt scaring of every thief in the neighborhood.
This year was actually the first time I was sorta able to enjoy the pre-Halloween fanciness and creativity. Ever since I moved to Park Slope, which is an area where you can indeed find single houses, I have been able to witness how the neighborhood has dramatically changed from stoic to crazy, from old-fashioned to exciting – all of this practically over night. And even out in Bay Ridge, where a friend of mine used to live, I have run across some scary-for-fun-appearing witches and a unique grave yard in the front garden.
So whatever drives the rest of the US at that time of the year can definitely be found here in New York (and especially Brooklyn) in a highly representable manner.
With all these impressions, I was mentally prepared to do something equally representable on Halloween. Sadly, I have to admit that last year was surprisingly lame, since my friends had convinced me to not go out and nourished the fear in me of getting robbed by masked people in the Village (“Oh yes”, they said, “people in New York use these masks and then just jump tourists.”). Instead, we stayed in and drank a bottle of wine while chatting away – which was nice, too, but not really the proper Hollow’s Eve I had wished for, if you know what I mean.
So this year I had really wanted to do something more exciting. But how it all went down – oh, it was such a pity:
Halloween turned out to be on a Monday (whereas last year it was on a Sunday). Needless to say, that a big bunch of friends and coworkers were confused as to when the BIG HALLOWEEN PARTY was supposed to go down. “Shall we do it on a Friday, on a Saturday, or indeed on a Monday?” most asked themselves, including me. The general notion was to celebrate on Saturday, for this is really the party day of the week, no matter what. But when Saturday came around, a good piece of the Northeast Coast experienced something completely out of the ordinary: IT SNOWED! At the end of October! And I, who had first planned to go to the 9/11 Memorial (which was shut down due to the bad weather conditions) and then dress up for the evening, had to admit that it was completely senseless to get out in the snow mud and cold just for a party probably only a third of the people would be. Not that I even bothered to get a costume beforehand, as I had figured to simply dress up last minute.
I think I can speak for everyone when saying that Halloween 2011 was a great disappointment for New Yorkers. As I overheard a conversation of two guys on the train the other day who were describing this year’s hollow eve as “half-a**ed” and quite confusing. So I think a good deal of people felt betrayed of their party, get-together, and what not.
Monday was my first day at the new job (read here) and out of great spontaneity I suddenly decided to check out the notorious Halloween Parade in the Village. Yes, the one I had missed out on last year, as the crowd from Union Square had been just obnoxiously huge.
This time I got off right at W4 and even managed to get a good spot right upfront by standing on a fence and shooting some pictures. The general vibe I got from the crowd was mixed: Lots of dressed up college students and other folks, but then also some aggressive gangs who wanted to get into trouble and fight others. And the cops, oh boy, I have to mention them in a whole different post, but they were absolutely ridiculous. I almost got attacked by five of them when they were chasing ONE drunk guy who desperately threw himself on me. This was not very funny, and I was dumbfounded at first but managed to get out of there quickly.
So, after watching for 45 minutes, I sorta had enough. Then the question of interest was: How the heck do I get out of here? I could move neither backwards nor forwards and the crowd was pushing me in two different directions. I am not claustrophobic at all but I can now understand how some people are after experiencing last Monday night. I never got to see my friend, as he was standing somewhere completely different and neither of us could meet in between. Totally frustrated I gave up, there was no way I would make it back into the subway station without being smashed by drunks or waiting 30 mins straight. Therefore I ended up walking through Greenwich Village, past one of those quazillion Darth Vaders, even past a cute quartet of Panda bears (must have been college students), and past the sweet ginger bread man on 14th Street. Finally, after two whole hours, I was back home, way tired and not really in the mood for a good Halloween anymore. So my recommendation to you is, if you really want to celebrate Halloween in New York, do it in private, with a group of friends. Avoid the awful Halloween Parade, unless you want to be trampled on, and make sure it doesn’t snow on THE PARTY DAY of the year!
But other than that it was a fine event!