Since the beginning of October, Halloween decorations have been creeping across our neighbourhood. Skeletons, zombies and other ghastly figures jostle for space, a plethora of pumpkins parade up steps, and scarcely a railing has been left uncobwebbed. So far we’ve resisted the temptation to join in, although a mini pumpkin and some orange fairy lights have found their way into my shopping basket thus far. We’ve also been stocking up on candy in anticipation of trick-or-treaters on the night itself, and I happily invested in a rather natty pumpkin-shaped bucket to put it all in.
I see from the date of the draft of this post that I wrote the words above on October 20th, and as it turned out we ended up with a rather different set of horrors to face on the 31st. A friend of Tom’s was moving apartments and getting rid of a dining table and bookcase – two items which we were keen to take off her hands. The catch? They had to be collected on the 31st. So instead of heading home to enjoy the decorations and admire everyone’s costumes, we found ourselves collecting a van from the U-Haul garage on West 23rd street and driving back to the Upper East Side to pick up the furniture.
After a slightly rocky start (working out how to get the thing into gear took considerably longer than it should have done, not to mention trying to find the release for the parking brake) my first experience of driving in Manhattan went much more smoothly than I was expecting, and we made it to our first destination without any difficulty. Being the driver I got to stay with the van whilst Tom helped shift everything out of the apartment – an unexpected bonus of double parking, which I appreciated even more when we were unloading at the other end and I discovered how heavy it all was.
Driving down our street we were greeted with a charming array of festive lights, to which the above picture doesn’t even begin to do justice. I began to think optimistic thoughts about unloading, parking up (it was around 9pm by this stage, which meant that we had to keep the van overnight) and still having time for a walk around.
Two hours later I managed to find a parking space.
Hoboken is quite the destination for Halloween parties, it seems, and people apparently drive into town at the start of their night out, and whilst we were expecting that all the bars would be packed we had totally failed to anticipate that everyone would have brought their cars along too. So by 11pm the streets were filled with both drunken costumed revellers and queues of cars searching for a spot (I guessed these drivers were locals returning home from elsewhere, though actually they could equally have been people arriving later to the party).
Consequently by the time I finally made it home I was far too tired and grumpy to do anything other than go to bed, in anticipation of a 6am alarm to make sure that we got the van back to the garage by its scheduled return time of 8am.
Saturday dawned cold, grey and rainy, which seemed appropriate to my mood, but despite some pretty epic queues for the Lincoln tunnel we managed to get the van back in time, and then wandered down to Union Square to have coffee in Whole Foods and wait until the shops opened. I had a vague plan of spending some of the afternoon taking pictures of the Halloween decorations before people started taking them down, but the wind and rain put paid to that idea.
However, I do have a few snaps I took mid-month, at about the time of my optimistic opening paragraph, so these will have to suffice, at least until next year…