Halloween at the Seaport is fun for all

[media-credit name=”Downtown Express photos by Helaina N. Hovitz” align=”aligncenter” width=”600″][/media-credit]

The 21st Annual Fish Bridge Park Halloween Parade offered fun for not only kids and adults, but for their four-legged friends as well.

BY HELAINA N. HOVITZ  |  The Fish Bridge Park Annual Halloween Parade, a twenty-year-old neighborhood tradition, once again began in the whimsically decorated park on Dover Street on Monday night. From the park, all moved together down the nine square blocks on and around Water Street, Beekman Street, Front Street, and Peck Slip, collecting candy and other treats from restaurants and residents along their parade route.

Thanks to the efforts of Tami Kurtz and Gary Fagin, co-directors of the South Water Front Neighborhood Association’s Halloween Committee, local children were provided a special Halloween experience.

“There aren’t a lot of city kids that are able to do it like we did in the suburbs,” said Kurtz. “Not many neighborhoods participate in something big like this.”

The lure is also, Fagin noted, because the Seaport Historic District is in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. “It’s like stepping back in time to old New York, with the cobblestones and low-scale, older buildings and less traffic,” he said.

The cowboy-clad Fagin, along with other parent volunteers, helped to make the event safe by directing traffic, creating, if only briefly, a suburban-esque, candy-grabbing environment.

“It’s great to be able to do this without having to worry about cars, especially at night,” said Alexa Cardenales as she and her 18-month-old daughter Bella, dressed as a cupcake, followed the parade route down Front Street.

[media-credit id=1 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Made Fresh Daily provided their traditional cider and mini-cupcakes, Pasanella & Son offered wine tasting for the adults, and nearly twenty other restaurants doled out various treats — all on their own dime. Other participants included Mark Joseph Steakhouse, Cowgirl Seahorse, Suteishi, Aqua, Il Brigante, Bin 220, Keg 229, and Nelson Blue.

Leaving no base uncovered, the Salty Paw joined in the fun by hosting its fourth annual “doggy costume party,” one big inter-species play date reserved exclusively for dogs and their masters.

“Our four-legged friends are like furry kids — they want to have fun too!” said Amanda Carhuayano, manager of the Salty Paw.

Three-year parade veteran Uma Boujnah, 5, a friendly witch who “loved her black nail polish so much,” said her favorite part of the night was the candy.

“This is really the point of Halloween, for the kids,” said her mother, Cristina Villegas. “Most other neighborhoods are full of adults getting crazy.”

According to Kurtz and Fagin, the turnout keeps growing every year, and many more kids from surrounding neighborhoods have been showing up — over 200 this year and last by their own estimation. A special effort was made this year to try and keep the event exclusively local, but even though the event fell on a “school night,” the turnout was just as big.

But bigger isn’t always better.

“In recent years, people were driving over from other neighborhoods, and it got so big that it became overwhelming and some residents dropped out,” Kurtz explained.

There may have been fewer residents giving out candy this year, but one resident, Polly Applebaum, has been dishing out bag after bag to Downtown kids for two decades, and this year was no different.

“It’s become a tradition we all love — who doesn’t love Halloween?” said Applebaum with a big smile.

This year, Fagin instituted a new green initiative in which the families who brought their Jack-O-Lanterns to decorate Fish Bridge Park later composted them back into the park’s garden.

“It was a little harder getting parental participation to decorate and clean the park before and after the parade because Halloween fell on a workday this year,” Fagin said. “But we had just enough help to make it work.”

“A lot of the kids also helped us clean up and decorate the park,” said Kurtz. “When you have everyone pulling together as a community, you can do a lot of fun things.”

[media-credit id=1 align=”alignright” width=”600″][/media-credit]