Sunday, October 31, 2010

New York's Greenwich Village Halloween Parade

As much as I traveled to New York during my Air Marshal days, I never got a chance to actually see live what has become a Halloween tradition, the Village Halloween Parade.

It was founded in 1974 by Ralph Lee, with assistance from George Bartenieff and Crystal Field of the Theater of New York and coordinated by the trio for its first two years.

The spectacle of people in over 100 masks, street performers, giant puppets and others winding their way through the narrow streets of the Greenwich Village neighborhood from West Street to Washington Square not only took the neighborhood by surprise, but many people joined in the festivities.

The open participation to anyone in a costume who wishes to march has helped it grow to become a wildly popular event in New York to the point where a non profit corporation was formed in 1976 to help coordinate it
Even after the 9-11 terror attack, when events were being canceled all over the city, this parade was one of the few events held in New York during that time period at the insistence of then Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and actually gave birth to another tradition, the Dancing Skeletons puppets that lead the parade.  

It was even used a a rallying point in 2005 for New Orleans Katrina evacuees staying in the area.   That parade featured a New Orleans style jazz funeral, secondliners, the Rebirth Jazz Band and lanterns depicting New Orleans landmarks and the Magnolia housing project in the Ninth Ward.

So what will the theme be this year?    You'll have to tune in to find out.


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