The Village Halloween Parade

October 31, 2006

In 1973, Greenwich Village mask maker and puppeteer Ralph Lee staged a house-to-house puppet show to entertain his neighbors, children and friends. Thirty-three years later, Lee’s show has evolved into the nation’s largest public Halloween celebration.

This year more than two million people lined Sixth Avenue to watch the Village Halloween Parade while another four million watched a live broadcast on local TV station NY1. Many of the people standing behind the barriers watching were as elaborately costumed as those who were marching, dancing and riding up the street.

Hometown boys (well, at least they are former New Yorkers) Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of the rock band Kiss served as the Grand Marshals of the four hour event which included elaborate floats, choreographed dancers, dozens of marching bands, hundreds of puppets and more than 50,000 costumed marchers.

The sheer numbers make the event sound overwhelming but (unlike many other Halloween celebrations) the Village Halloween Parade isn’t raucous or rowdy; it remains a good-natured, friendly outdoor party for vampires, zombies, superheroes and kids of all ages.

Strawberry & big brother  Posted by Picasa

Man carrying skeleton puppet  Posted by Picasa

Captain Morgan  Posted by Picasa

MTV VJ & “David Letterman”  Posted by Picasa

Naughty cop & naughty maid  Posted by Picasa

Reporter & “Paris Hilton”  Posted by Picasa

Desperate housewife  Posted by Picasa

Stay-Puft marshmallow man  Posted by Picasa

Man in a pink tuxedo  Posted by Picasa

Martini girl  Posted by Picasa

Catwoman and Psycho Santa  Posted by Picasa

“Paris Hilton”  Posted by Picasa

Spoon man  Posted by Picasa

Lobster boy  Posted by Picasa

Beheaded man  Posted by Picasa

Blue-haired lady  Posted by Picasa

Corpse bride  Posted by Picasa

Zombie barista  Posted by Picasa

Elf  Posted by Picasa

Cheerleader Posted by Picasa

Raccoon  Posted by Picasa

The Riddler  Posted by Picasa

Religious guy  Posted by Picasa

Devil & Zombie  Posted by Picasa

Masked man  Posted by Picasa

Cow  Posted by Picasa

Spongebob Squarepants  Posted by Picasa

Bearded bumblebee  Posted by Picasa

Sock monkey Posted by Picasa

Man with a headache Posted by Picasa

Acrobats  Posted by Picasa

Viagra man  Posted by Picasa

Zombie  Posted by Picasa

Banana boy & friend  Posted by Picasa

Scooby Doo  Posted by Picasa

Easy chair  Posted by Picasa

Can-can girl  Posted by Picasa

First-class mail  Posted by Picasa

Hot dog girl  Posted by Picasa

Edward Scissorhands  Posted by Picasa

Orange feathers & red hair  Posted by Picasa

Woman with live parrots  Posted by Picasa

Puppeteers  Posted by Picasa

“Pamela Anderson” & “Kid Rock”  Posted by Picasa

Bagged spinach with E Coli  Posted by Picasa

Wolf & wizard  Posted by Picasa

Vampires  Posted by Picasa

Autumn leaf  Posted by Picasa

Little nurse  Posted by Picasa

“Borat”  Posted by Picasa

Little dinosaur in a stroller  Posted by Picasa

The Munsters  Posted by Picasa

Gilligan & palm tree Posted by Picasa

Real cop & zombie cop  Posted by Picasa

Dia De Los Muertos  Posted by Picasa

Jack O’Lantern puppets  Posted by Picasa

Scary implants  Posted by Picasa

“Prince” & “Madonna”  Posted by Picasa

On the Mannheim Steamroller float  Posted by Picasa

Grand Marshals from Kiss  Posted by Picasa

Paul Stanley & Gene Simmons  Posted by Picasa

  • New York Village Halloween Parade
  • Kiss
  • NY1

  • Halloween Parade & Costume Extravaganza

    October 29, 2006

    On this crisp autumn day, canines from Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO gathered for the 2nd Annual Dog Halloween Parade and Costume Extravaganza. About 60 animals and their human companions assembled at the Remsen St. entrance to the Brooklyn Promenade, then scampered to the Harry Chapin Playground for judging.

    The event’s sponsor, Perfect Paws, awarded dog-centric prizes for costumes in categories such as best large dog, best small dog, best store-bought, best homemade and most original. All entry fees from the Parade and Costume Extravaganza are being donated to the Hillside Dog Run and the Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition (BARC) and will be used to benefit the animals of Brooklyn.

    Parading towards the Playground Posted by Picasa

    Little Orphan Annie Posted by Picasa

    A little witch Posted by Picasa

    Shar-pei cheerleader (sans pom-poms) Posted by Picasa

    Count Dracula Posted by Picasa

    A pig Posted by Picasa

    Dragon & friend Posted by Picasa

    Elvis & clown Posted by Picasa

    In Happy Halloween shirt & bandana Posted by Picasa

    Angel inspecting the judges  Posted by Picasa

    Little Red Riding Hood & Wolf Posted by Picasa

    In a ball gown  Posted by Picasa

    Hot dog with ketchup Posted by Picasa

    Little Elvis Posted by Picasa

    Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz Posted by Picasa

    Fairy princess Posted by Picasa

    Another Elvis Posted by Picasa

    Security dog Posted by Picasa

    Hippie Posted by Picasa

    In a poncho & sombrero Posted by Picasa

    Hula girl Posted by Picasa

    Devil  Posted by Picasa

    Bark Mitzvah boy Posted by Picasa

  • Perfect Paws
  • Harry Chapin Playground
  • Hillside Dog Park
  • BARC
  • The SITS Girls

  • A Peek at One Hanson Place

    October 28, 2006

    When it opened at the corner of Hanson Place and Ashland Place in 1928, this was the tallest structure in Brooklyn. Designed to house the Williamsburgh Savings Bank by architects Halsey, McCormack & Helmer, the profile of its distinctive clock tower and dome led this description in the AIA Guide to New York City:

    Inadvertently, this was New York’s most exuberant phallic symbol … its slender tower dominating the landscape of all Brooklyn. A crisp and clean tower, it is detailed in Romanesque-Byzantine arches, columns, and capitals. The 26th floor once included accessible outdoor viewing space, after a change of elevators … all in all, it is 512 feet of skyline. Inside, the great basilican banking hall is called by the Landmarks Preservation Commission a “cathedral of thrift.”

    The cornerstone is engraved with the seal of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank, the date of its charter and the words, “To our depositors past and present this building is dedicated. By their industry and thrift they have built homes and educated children, opened the door of opportunity to youth and made age comfortable, independant and dignified. By those sturdy virtues they have attained their ambitions, swept aside the petty distinctions of class and birth and so maintained the true spirit of American democracy.”

    Now the building known as One Hanson Place is closed for renovation. When it reopens in about 15 months or so, this building will contain luxury condominiums.

    Scaffolding and banners cover facade  Posted by Picasa

    Hidden behind scaffolding Posted by Picasa

    A peek behind the scaffolding Posted by Picasa

    Gargoyle behind scaffolding  Posted by Picasa

    Base of a column behind scaffolding Posted by Picasa

    Owl on a column Posted by Picasa

    Lions guard the lobby entrance Posted by Picasa

    Arch over door from lobby to street Posted by Picasa

    Mosaic ceiling  Posted by Picasa

    A corner of the tiled, vaulted ceiling  Posted by Picasa

    Detail of elevator door  Posted by Picasa

    Sign at subway entrance Posted by Picasa

    Turtle in subway entrance Posted by Picasa

    Detail in subway entrance Posted by Picasa

  • One Hanson Place
  • Curbed New York: Borders Coming
  • Corcoran: Apartments at One Hanson Place
  • AIA Guide to New York City
  • Audio Tour of One Hanson Place (mp3)

  • Art Under the Bridge

    October 15, 2006

    This weekend the 10th Annual Art Under the Bridge Festival turns the entire DUMBO neighborhood into an enormous art gallery. More than 1,500 artists with ties to this area are participating by showing their work in exhibitions or opening their studios to the public. Many of the artists are present to meet visitors, discuss their creations and explain their visions.

    Streets, shops, cafes and even parked trucks are filled with paintings, sculptures and photography while basements, garages, parks and empty buildings host performances of dance, film, video and music. This is a time to wander in and out of galleries and installations, sample styles and works, explore new media and artists and, perhaps, find something unexpected and wonderful.

    Today’s notable surprises include the Rider Project, a temporary mobile art gallery located in the back of two rented Ryder trucks (the roof of one is adorned with a sculpture of grass that softly undulates in the wind), Micki Watanabe, who makes books that are scuptures that are caligraphy that are art, Ryan Schroeder, creator of molded frozen casein scupltures that melt, run and eventually disappear, Alan Sanchez, whose intricate drawings and assemblages connect science fiction, childlike wonder and engineering, Gautam Kansara, who transforms documentary-like videos of his family into poignant, moving fantasies, and Katrina Remembered: The Coast Is Not Clear, an exhibit of recent works by six Mississippi artists and Brooklyn’s Radhi Chakasani.

    Panel painted on Water St. (1 of 4) Posted by Picasa

    Panel painted on Water St. (2 of 4) Posted by Picasa

    Panel painted on Water St. (3 of 4) Posted by Picasa

    Panel painted on Water St. (4 of 4) Posted by Picasa

    Viewing images from Hurricane Katrina  Posted by Picasa

    At the Katrina Remembered exhibit  Posted by Picasa

    Viewing Katrina Remembered exhibit  Posted by Picasa

    The Rider Project parked on Water Street Posted by Picasa

    Inside the Rider Project  Posted by Picasa

    Standing in the Rider Project truck Posted by Picasa

    Sitting in the Rider Project truck Posted by Picasa

    Sitting near the Rider Project Posted by Picasa

    Artist Hayley Severns Posted by Picasa

    Artist Ryan Schroeder Posted by Picasa

  • D.U.M.B.O. Arts Center (DAC)
  • D.U.M.B.O. Art Under the Bridge Festival
  • Brooklyn Arts Council
  • Smackmellon
  • Art-Anon & the Rider Project
  • Brooklyn Artists Gym
  • Spring Design & Art
  • The ‘temporary Museum of Painting
  • Micki Watanabe
  • Marc Dennis
  • Peter Denmark
  • Jaime Logreira
  • Radhika Chalasani Photography
  • Amy Bennett
  • Gautam Kansara
  • Helen Brough
  • Eduardo Cervantes
  • Sarah Keane
  • Austin Donohue
  • Asuka Kakitani Jazz Orchestra
  • Courier-Life: 30 Blocks of DUMBO
  • Cool Magazine

  • No Sleep Till Brooklyn

    October 14, 2006

    The powerHouse Arena, an enormous new party space on Brooklyn’s Main Street, is owned and operated by avant-garde art publisher powerHouse Books. This weekend the Arena hosted its first event, No Sleep ’til Brooklyn: A Hip Hop Retrospective — a celebration of 30 years of hip hop culture.

    Named for the Beastie Boys’ 1986 hit and held in conjuction with VH1’s 2006 Hip Hop Honors, No Sleep ’til Brooklyn is a look at hip hop from its underground beginnings in the South Bronx to its ubiquitous presence today. Works by featured artists include photos, paintings, drawings, films, video, books, sneakers and, of course, music.

    Visitors filled the space to look at the works on display, sample the products from Brooklyn Brewery, hear music by DJ Synapse and hear from some of the pioneers of the art gallery graffiti scene: Lee Quinones, Diego Cortez and Patti Astor.

    Graffiti-style list of credits Posted by Picasa

    Life size images cover the front windows Posted by Picasa

    Photos taped to the pillars  Posted by Picasa

    Looking up at photos Posted by Picasa

    Visitors leaving their marks on the wall  Posted by Picasa

    Viewing framed works in the corner  Posted by Picasa

    Eliza from Pinkeye Posted by Picasa

    Sitting on the steps  Posted by Picasa

    Diego Cortez, Lee Quinones & Patti Astor Posted by Picasa

    Jane Dixon & Patti Astor Posted by Picasa

  • powerHouse Books
  • powerHouse Arena
  • No Sleep ’til Brooklyn: A Hip Hop Retrospective
  • No Sleep ’til Brooklyn Launch
  • @149st: Patti Astor
  • @149st: Fun Gallery
  • Diego Cortez
  • Lost Object: Diego Cortez
  • @149st: Lee Quinones
  • Pink Eye Personalizations
  • DJ Synapse
  • Licensed to Ill
  • Wild Style
  • Brooklyn Brewery
  • VH1 Hip Hop Honors

  • Mysteries of Brooklyn: The Hidden Grotto

    October 13, 2006

    Dere’s no guy livin’ dat knows Brooklyn t’roo an’ t’roo, because it’d take a guy a lifetime just to find his way aroun’ duh f_____ town.
    — Thomas Wolfe, Only the Dead Know Brooklyn, 1935

    At the mouth of the alley near the corner of 43rd Street and 8th Avenue, between the bar and the plumbing supply store, stands a tall iron gate. Affixed to the front are two signs: the white one says that a garage is available for rent; the yellow sign proclaims in English and Chinese that behind this gate is a private driveway; violaters will be tow and ticket [sic].

    Peeking past the iron bars of gate, beyond the partially-disassembled cars and the tools strewn about the ground, a passer-by can glimpse something that seems out of place — a flash of color out of keeping with this dirty, gray, shadowed space.

    If the workmen are in a good mood they’ll allow you to pick your way through the mazes of tires, wrenches and hoses until you reach the back wall. There you will find a grotto roughly hewn from wood, plaster and pieces of broken stone. The person who built this wasn’t a skilled craftsman, didn’t know how to use a lathe or a level, didn’t know how to move the electrical outlets that were already laid onto the surface.

    But at some point, an unknown person, for unknown reasons, felt compelled to build this grotto in this very spot. Driven by passion or madness, he or she carefully built a series of niches, firmly fixed statues of saints inside them and painted the entire creation.

    Today, the men who labor here know nothing of the hidden grotto, its creator or its meaning. The plaster is crumbling. The paint flakes from the wood. St. Gabriel’s wing is broken; St. Joseph’s robe is chipped; Mary’s blue mantle is marked with patches of gray. But still they stand here, long forgotten, silently keeping watch over the workers and cars. Just another of Brooklyn’s many mysteries.

    The hidden grotto Posted by Picasa

    Madonna with electrical outlet Posted by Picasa

    They call it “Blooklyn”

    October 13, 2006

    You say you’ve been to Chinatown in New York? Which Chinatown?

    The fact is, New York City now has three separate Chinatowns. The oldest is in Manhattan. The largest is in Queens. And the smallest and newest is right here in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

    Brooklyn’s Chinatown is centered on 8th Avenue between 50th and 60th Streets. It is commonly believed that the Chinese moved here because they consider the number eight fortuitous for business and “8th Avenue” can be interpreted as “the road to wealth.”


    But a more plausible explanation is that those seeking to escape from Chinatown Manhattan’s crowded, twisting alleys, noisy factories and overflowing tenements appreciated Sunset Park’s clean, grassy recreation areas, the relatively wide streets, an abundance of retail space and a direct subway connection to friends and jobs in the old Chinatown.

    As with the other Chinatowns, many of the most visible businesses here are focused on food – preparing it, serving it, selling it. The curbs are lined with baskets of skittering crabs, tubs of fat, bobbing bullfrogs and Styrofoam coolers of flopping, freshly-caught fish. Vendors stand in tiny pushcarts, transforming thick, eggy batter into hot, puffy cakes ($1 a bagfull) and transforming skewers of marinated meat into hot, sizzling satay ($1 each). Bakeries fill the air with the scents of fresh-browned chestnut bread, lotus cakes, cinnamon crisps and pork buns.

    In terms of charm and quaintness, Chinatown Brooklyn comes in dead last, which means that it is almost completely free of hulking tour buses, pushy sightseers and cheap, tacky souvenirs. If you go, instead of t-shirt shops and Starbucks, you’ll see hundreds of businesses that cater to the residents’ daily needs: insurance agencies, banks, bakeries, pharmacies, acupuncture clinics, hairdressers, tutoring services, cell phone centers, internet cafes, restaurant uniform and supply stores and florists.

    Want to know which shops have just opened? Look near the doorway for an array of green plants festooned with red ribbons, traditionally thought to bring luck to a new enterprise.

    Church notice board Posted by Picasa

    Egg cake cart Posted by Picasa

    Fa Da Mall Posted by Picasa

    Moms doing errands Posted by Picasa

    Price list in beauty salon Posted by Picasa

    Funny dry cleaning shop Posted by Picasa

    Optician’s shop Posted by Picasa

    Sign in deli window Posted by Picasa

    Dried fruit displayed outside shop Posted by Picasa

    Banks at the corner of 55th & 8th Posted by Picasa

    Fresh caught and for sale curbside Posted by Picasa

    New Dawang Seafood Market Posted by Picasa

    Hong Kong Supermarket Posted by Picasa

  • Village Voice: The Other, Other Chinatown
  • Asia’zine: Brooklyn’s Chinatown
  • Chinatown NYC: Brooklyn
  • Prosper with 8 88 888 88888

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