New Yorkers line up to revive Greenwich Village Halloween parade
Two weeks ago, a barebones Halloween parade was a frightening possibility.
Frightening enough for some New Yorkers to open their wallets and rescue the good times in the Village.
“They were individuals who realized, ‘Wow, this is something I love. I didn’t realize it was in trouble,’” said Jeanne Fleming, longtime director of New York’s Village Halloween Parade, which will go up Sixth Avenue this Saturday.
Hundreds of donations have poured in since news spread of the parade’s economic struggles, most in $25 or $50 increments. The last-minute boost added thousands of dollars to the budget and revived the annual parade, the largest and arguably most elaborate Halloween celebration in the U.S.
“Everyone is chipping in to make it happen,” Fleming said.
Themed “Terra Incognita,” the event is set to draw 80,000 people and bring in millions of dollars to the city, Fleming said. Businesses on the parade route were anxious about Saturday’s traffic, though for varying reasons.
“We benefit a little … but we also lose business because it blocks a bunch of our stores,” said Todd Kenig, CEO of Ricky’s NYC. “But we love the parade. We hope everyone enjoys themselves.”
Nikki Mejer isn’t making any special preparations to accommodate the crowd at her Royale Cafe + Pastry Shop. “Last year’s Halloween just wasn’t what we expected,” she said. “We had people in and out but mainly to ask if they could use a restroom.”
Street vendor Louai Ismail was more optimistic. “We are so very excited for the parade because they bring many people,” said Ismail, who operates a smoothie stand.
Fleming would have made do with the seven floats proposed earlier this month, she said, but the fleet is now 12-strong. The ideal is 20 floats.
This year’s festivities double as a Michael Jackson tribute. In addition to the annual “Thriller” routine, six other performances will honor the King of Pop.
On Halloween night, money and other everyday stresses should be the last things on revelers’ minds, Fleming said. “The parade is sort of like a little utopian society for a few hours every year,” she said. “And that’s really important in times like these.”
If you go
Time: 7 to 10 p.m.
Route: Up Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to 21st Street
To march: Line up on Sixth Avenue between Canal and Spring streets between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
On TV: Watch it on NY1 at 8 p.m.
For more info: Visit halloween-nyc.com