BY TEQUILA MINSKY | Bright sun warmed the November chill. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful Sunday at Chelsea Waterside Park, 11th Ave and 23rd Street, when throngs of families flocked to the second annual fall festival of pumpkin smashing hosted by Hudson River Park.
A Chelsea mom stacked six big but shrinking pumpkins into her shopping cart while others carted their pumpkins in strollers or schlepped them in Trader Joe’s bags.
Families from Brooklyn and Queens joined local residents and one mother and daughter traveled two hours from Connecticut for this post-Halloween fun. Baby strollers lined a park path.
Fueled by sugarcoated apple cider donuts, parents and children patiently waited to beat the heck out of their pumpkins.
Kids donned protective goggles and, weaponized by metal bats, contemplated their attack. Parents offered pointers. Then the assault against each pumpkin, perched on a tree stump, began. A pumpkin might go flying off, to be placed again for another offensive. Moms’ and dads’ superior muscle power at times was employed to bring on cracks among the ribs and each child enjoyed as much time as needed to mangle and squash their squash.
Smashed and smithereened chards moved on to be further pulverized by a team of volunteers.
With free apple cider and coffee also provided, this spur of Hudson River Park hosted a crafts table, a leaf scavenger hunt, and face-painting options, while audiences, bathing in sunshine, enjoyed interactive performances by Story Pirates.
Furthermore, there is more than one way to demolish a pumpkin!
Cheered on and safeguarded by Hudson River Park staff, atop a dump trunk, kids smashed their pumpkins by the force of propelling them from above to cement below!
This is the second year of the smashing pumpkins fall festival, a project of the Hudson River Park Community Composting Program, which maintains in the park seven organic matter/kitchen scraps compost drop-off points between N. Moore and W. 44th Street*—available 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily.
The Park’s Composting Center at 34th Street mixes these collected food scraps with the Park’s horticulture waste —a half-ton of weeds, branches, and other plant waste daily generated by the Park‑—into reusable compost that keeps plants, trees and shrubs healthy.
By the fest day’s end, the chopped-up pumpkin pulp found its way to the 34th Street Composting Center. (Last year, the fall festival collected 1000 pounds of pulp.) The festival wrapped up around 2 p m.
Amidst smiles, countless children’s faces were artfully decorated by the time they left the park, and all who attended could only say they had a “smashing good time!”
[Community Compost drop off points are: Pier 25 at N. Moore St. near the Pier 25 Play Area; Pier 40 at Houston St. near the Leroy Street Dog Park; Pier 51 at Horatio St. near the Pier 51 comfort station; 14th Street Park at the southwest corner of 15th St. and 10th Ave; Chelsea Waterside Park at the 23rd St. and 11th Ave entrance; Pier 76 at 34th Street and 12th Ave in Hudson River Park’s Compost Center; Pier 84 at W. 44th St. near the Pier 84 Dog Park]
After the composting event, Hudson River Park said that a record number of pumpkins had been smashed. This year’s event saw 1,200 people smash 380 pumpkins, according to the park, which generated over 2,000 pounds of pumpkin for compost, doubling last year’s amount.