NYC Halloween

This past week was Halloween, and also the time of a devastating freak storm along the East Coast. Both of these events reminded me of exactly one year ago when I was in New York City during the last week of October.

On the last weekend of October 2011 a freak snow storm coated New York City in a layer of snow that historians and meteorologists said was the first of its kind in the month of October since the Civil War. Yes, The Civil War!

On the first day of the storm, I was attending the PhotoPlus Expo (an annual photography trade show). Around mid-day, here is what I saw when I went outside to get some fresh air after being cooped up in the convention center for several hours:

And on my way back to my subway stop in the afternoon, the snow had stopped falling, but the sidewalks were covered. (That brown stuff is snow, just very dirty snow.):

That night, just before I went to sleep, I checked weather on my phone. Yup, freezing with snow. In October!

The next morning, a lot of the slush on the pavement started to melt, but evidence of the freak snow storm was still around for more than 24 hours.

Because it was still mid-Fall, the vast majority of trees still had a full set of leaves. Heavy snow packed on top of a canopy of leaves means a lot of downed branches.

As you can see from the photo above, a little chaos doesn’t stop New Yorkers from walking their dog or reading tweets on park benches. The destructive power of that storm didn’t equal Hurricane Sandy this year, but it was still a rare and powerful event.

During my week in NYC, I had a day off between the 3-day expo and a 3-day NYCFotoWorks portfolio review event that I was attending. That day off happened to be October 31st–Halloween! So as the last of the snow was melting, and people walked their dogs in Central Park amid fallen tree limbs, other strange juxtapositions started to appear…

A Storm Trooper taking a break to call his girlfriend:

Dr. Seuss characters commuting on the subway:

Pink bunnies walking the streets of the Lower East Side (out lookin’ for some tail??):

Bank robbers acting oddly unconcerned about being seen on the street:

I had never been outside California on Halloween before. New York, which is always a feast for the eyes and a gold mine for a street photographer, really pulled out all the stops for the holiday.

After trudging through snow in October and seeing millions of New Yorkers with their freak flags flying, I couldn’t imaging things getting any more crazy or fantastic.

But they did.

By chance, I had found a hotel for my week in NYC that was located away from the madness of mid-town, and tucked away on a small street in Greenwhich Village. Little did I know when I booked my hotel, New York has a Halloween parade, and it runs down the major avenue in the Village just a block from the hotel! After getting inside and warming up for a bit after a freezing day outdoors (taking the pictures above, among other things), I headed out and experienced the icing on my freaky New York cake!

I’ll let the photos do the talking, but here are a few photos of the crowd and the insanity. (I’m just sure of the exact attendance at this event, but I’m pretty sure it was right around a bazillion.)

Keep in mind, the temperatures were still in the low 30s, and a lot of these knuckleheads were out in nothing but some pink fur, fishnets and a silly hat. Youza.

I had a much more low key Halloween this year at home in 65 degree California. But the occasion prompted me to dig up these photos from last year and recall the craziness that was. Go New York. Stay warm and safe as you recover from Hurricane Sandy!