“Want a balloon?”

This is part 2 of my New York City 2017 photo series.

Greenwich Village, NYC, USA. October 2017. (19 photos)

I grew up in Australia in a time before American culture was pervasive and something the youth willingly emulated. Accordingly, I never heard of or experienced Halloween while growing up.

“Well, I’m Pennywise, the dancing clown.”

I wasn’t going to be fooled by the smile on this clown, but he wasn’t going to accept “No” for an answer…

β€œKill you all!” The clown was laughing and screaming. “Try to stop me and I’ll kill you all! Drive you crazy and then kill you all! You can’t stop me!”

I gave “Pennywise the clown” a quick smile back and a wave. Then I got out of there hoping not to see him again.

Obviously, that was wishful thinking.

To be honest, I don’t understand what Halloween is about. I don’t particularly know what is being celebrated or what trick or treat is all about.

However, since I was in New York City on the actual Halloween Day, and the world’s most famous Halloween Parade was happening in Greenwich Village that evening, I decided to head out to the Village and experience it.

So I set out from my hotel on E 54th Street, walked through Times Square and then visited that well-known photography shop, B&H. From there I headed to the start of the High Line, then strolled the High line to the end in Greenwich Village.

I spent the entire day in Greenwich Village and SoHo, doing some sightseeing, street photography, and indulging in the delights of the famous bakeries in that area. I partook in that New York City tradition, the $1 pizza slice – yes, I even folded the pizza like I was supposed to.

“Thing 1 and Thing 2”

As the day progressed, I saw more and more people in costume, congregating for the start of the Halloween Day Parade.

For the parade there was an incredible police turnout. An intricate network of roadblocks and detours was set up all throughout the area.

I was fortunate enough to secure a frontline spot along the fence for the actual parade. By the time the parade was in full swing, there must have been a crowd at least 8 rows deep behind me.

It was a great experience. I took a few photos but was more interested in just enjoying the party atmosphere.

Lots of noise, music, cheering and frivolity. One of the biggest cheers from the crowd went out as the “poop” cleaners following the mounted police horses passed by. Sorry no photo of them.

I was intently watching a large group of Brazilian women each dressed as Wonder Woman dancing as they passed my spot. When I turned back around this clown was right in front of me…

“Try to stop me and I’ll kill you all! Drive you crazy and then kill you all! You can’t stop me!”

Sorry, I didn’t have the manual camera focus accurately set in time. Not a great photo, but it completes the story. πŸ™‚

Such was my nightmare in the Village. I still don’t know what Halloween is about but I had a great time. In fact, I didn’t get back to my hotel until about 1am. Me, wandering along 5th Avenue and Midtown after midnight. Yes, that’s life in the city that never sleeps.

Of course the real nightmare had happened earlier in the day. There had been a terrorist attack on the West Side near the Parade Route only a few hours before the parade was due to commence. Eight people were killed in that attack. They’d considered cancelling the parade apparently, but instead let it proceed with increased security.

This is part 2 of my New York City 2017 photo series.

This is Part 6 of my North America 2017 photo series.

This is part 18 of my photo series of my 2017 trip to the USA, Mexico, Cuba, and Canada.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Nightmare in the Village


88 thoughts on “Nightmare in the Village

  1. Great camera shots. Very clear. The news of the terrorist attack is pretty creepy though, in amongst the clown’s promises to kill you. We’d never allow that in Australia. (thank God)

    • Thank you. I didn’t find out about that attack until the next day when I saw the newspaper front pages. It makes you wonder what would have happened if there was an attack in my immediate area – not much you can do.

  2. I am glad you did a post on this! A few things, clowns are creepy – any version of them!!! Second, I am laughing about the wonder women comment! LOL . Third, I forgot the attack happened that day. Good lord. What an intense day to be in the city. Glad you got to experience the parade! Were you there for the marathon too?

  3. Oh you missed the best part of youth. Halloween was better than Christmas. So much fun. that is why adults still enjoy it here. You can dress up be who ever and what ever you want.

  4. So good to know you folded your pizza. For me, growing up on Long Island, All Hallows Eve was about filling as many pillow cases as you could with candy. Man! I wish I was a dentist back then. I know every location you mentioned. Great images, although, those clown pictures will prevent me from seeing this post again. πŸ™‚

  5. Now, I am afraid of clowns so looking through all of your photos was very difficult. Very life-like, well-captured and it felt like the clowns were right in front of me. I grew up in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore and don’t remember or know much about Halloween. I did get the occasional trick or treaters at my door and they vandalised my door…but never seen a celebration like you captured.

    Did you enjoy that $1 pizza? πŸ™‚

    • I always thought Halloween was a US/Canadian custom but more and more countries are celebrating it. I guess the world is shrinking. The parade went for a few hours. If you were in costume you were allowed to march in it.

      Yes, I had a couple of slices of pizza. Generally it’s a thin crust with cheese/tomato topping and maybe a little bit extra. Just choose the shop carefully (I googled before going) and don’t expect a gourmet pizza like we have in australia and you’ll enjoy the experience.

      • True. More and more countries are celebrating Halloween. Maybe they just want an excuse to get more sweet treats.

        Thin crust pizza is the way I like my pizza, and gourmet pizza generally doesn’t tickle my fancy anyway. Haven’t been to NY but I don’t mind taking a trip there just for some photography and pizza πŸ™‚

  6. Very creepy photos! I’m not a fan of Halloween at all. People put on masks and do things they ordinarily would never do because of the so-called anonymity. I’m probably in the minority. I’m surprised somebody in NYC gets away with screaming they’re going to kill everyone. (Probably a character from some movie I’ll never see.) Too many are following through with the reality anymore.

    • I’ve deliberately chosen some text to “accentuate” the photos. That particular clown is named Pennywise, a character from one of Stephen King’s novels and those are quotes that belong to Pennywise from the book. Rest assured, it was all friendly banter out there, otherwise I would have been running for my life. πŸ™‚ But you’re right, some people can’t differentiate fiction from reality and that’s where trouble begins.

    • I’m happy to have experienced it in NYC, but I’ll go back to ignoring this American tradition back home. Fortunately, I’m in the majority in Australia on that.

  7. J.D. Riso says:

    Halloween comes from the Celtic holiday of Samhain, but it definitely has mutated over the centuries. The holiday fervor has intensified even in the 2 decades I was away, at least with the yard decorations. People really get into it. The clowns have multiplied, that’s for sure. They don’t usually scare me, but given the crazy stuff going on in the world, especially on the day you were there, I’d keep my distance. Good thing you didn’t know the tragic news until later. Fun series. Glad you got to experience it.

    • Thanks for the information. Over time, celebrations and festivities have a way of becoming subverted, or “evolved”. That’s the nature of humankind. I’m happy to have experienced it, but that’s where Halloween ends for me. The world is going a bit crazy.

  8. I don’t know what Halloween is about and the way they celebrate it either. The night parade was different. These are great photos though.
    And, you were in NY when the terrorist attacked… You sure have experienced all kinds of turbulences in one trip, Dragon.

    • I simply accepted the parade for what it was, a party like atmosphere and procession. It was fun.
      I’m not sure if all these woes were because of me, or following me. Even my flight from NYC to SF was delayed by 3 hours because of a “technical issue”. Watch out if you know the Draco is coming your way! πŸ™‚

  9. Oh, that scary clown… you really experienced one crazy day in NYC. As a kid, Halloween was all about trick or treating to as many houses in your neighborhood as physically possible to fill your bag with candy. So healthy. 😬

  10. Well, seeing your photos was an education! Bizarre. I hate those creepy clowns (I always liked ordinary happy fun clowns though). The only thing I liked was all the spiders and webs – that looks fun to do! If I’m ever fortunate to visit NYC it definitely won’t be at Halloween. At least I’m now informed (thank you).

  11. The night shots are my favourites, but for a non-Halloweener, you’ve certainly got in to the spirit. I’m always surprised how big it is over in the US too. We do get trick or treaters, but it’s too close to Bonfire Night for there really to much of a splash about it over here.

  12. I have not seen the recent version of “IT”. I suspect this is why Pennywise was such a popular sight for Halloween. I used to love scary things, but not so much anymore. lol. Great captures of the parade and decorations. I haven’t yet been to NYC and am not sure I’d want to be there on Halloween. πŸ™‚

  13. Wow! You really did experience Halloween!
    I’m not sure why, but clowns kind of scare me. πŸ™‚
    Really, really wonderful photographs, Lignum.
    Happy Sunday to you, my friend!

  14. Fantastic post, Draco. You did a great job of setting up the clown theme throughout. It didn’t used to be that clowns were so creepy, I blame it on Stephen King and his brilliance. But in spite of the Pennywise character haunting your day, you did a good job of capturing the sweetness and silliness of the parade, and the New Yorkers celebrating. And that NYC went on with the parade in spite of the tragic shooting, is a statement in itself. Excellent visit to NYC on Halloween, thanks so much, my intrepid and adventurous friend.

    • Thank you, Jet. Yes, the majority of costumes aren’t clowns, it’s just that the clowns stick out a bit more. πŸ™‚ I loved seeing all the children in costumes early in the evening. Life goes on despite the woes. NYC is good at doing that.

  15. Now that would give me nightmares for weeks. They try to get us interested in Halloween over here but I think it is for commercial reasons, but a great photo op that you made the most of

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