Halloween events in the neighborhood

Howl-O-Ween will take place in Madison Square Park this Saturday.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Halloween is still a week away but many local businesses and organizations are already getting in the holiday spirit with events this month. Town & Village has compiled a list of some of the free and/or unique events available in the neighborhood.

Annual Halloween Fall Festival in Stuy Town

StuyTown Property Services is hosting an annual Halloween Fall Festival on Saturday, October 26 from 2 to 5 p.m. on the Oval. This year will include multiple bounce houses for all ages and live music from Ramblin’ Dan’s Freewheelin’ Band. There will also be seasonal crafts, including mini pumpkin painting and scarecrow making, as well as a hay maze and hay rides around the Oval. Popcorn, cotton candy, funnel cakes, and complimentary lemonade and cookies will be available. The rain date for this event is on Sunday, October 27.

Mad. Sq. Dogs: Howl-O-Ween

UPDATE: This event will be held on Saturday, October 26 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. because of expected rain on Sunday.

The famous Tompkins Square Park dog parade and StuyTown’s costume Dog Days both occurred last weekend, but dog owners have one more chance for a festive Halloween night out in the neighborhood at Madison Square Park on Sunday, October 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for Howl-o-ween, a festive event for local dogs and their owners. Festivities include trick-or-treat giveaways, family portraits at the photobooth, hydration station and paws-on activities presented by local partners. The event will culminate with a costume paw-rade around the Oval Lawn.

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Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood sells out

Attendees got one last bite of summer at Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood last weekend. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Gramercy Neighborhood Associates successfully sold out tickets to their seventh annual Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood event, held on Irving Place south of Gramercy Park last weekend.

The organization was still calculating the final tally this week of how much the event raised but GNA President Alan Krevis said this week that 450 tickets were sold, with tickets ranging in price from $50 to $80 on the day of the event.

Proceeds from ticket sales benefit healthy meal programs at local public schools, including School of the Future and PS 40, and all of the leftover food was donated to the Bowery Mission to feed the homeless.

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July 4th fireworks

July 4th Fireworks last year from Waterside Plaza (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

The Macy’s fireworks celebration for the July 4th holiday will originate from four barges south of the Brooklyn Bridge, from Pier 17 to the Manhattan Heliport, between 9:25 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. Subways will operate on a Saturday schedule. There will be increased subway service on the 4, 5 A, C, F and S 42nd Street Shuttle prior to and following the fireworks. There will also be firework shows around 9:25 p.m. at Exchange Place, Jersey City, and around 9:45 p.m. in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

Pride Month ends with two parades

State Senator Brad Hoylman handed out US Constitutions with his husband David Sigal during the Pride March on Fifth Avenue this Sunday. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The month honoring the LGBT movement ended on Sunday with the annual Pride March down Fifth Avenue, with even larger crowds than usual for the celebration due to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and WorldPride. The latter attracted visitors from all over the world both participating in the march and watching from the barricades.

Stuyvesant Town also celebrated Pride with a parade for the first time this year, holding the event last Wednesday after the originally scheduled date got rained out. Peggy Becker, a 25-year Stuy Town resident, said that she was excited that management had decided to host their own parade.

“It’s a historical event,” she said. “They’ve never done it before so I wanted to support it.”

High school senior Asher Dwoskin, Becker’s grandson, has marched in the city’s main parade in the past with a contingent organized by Amherst College, his mother’s alma mater, and said that marching in both that parade and Stuy Town’s was important to him.

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Local Pride events

The New York City Pride March will take place on Sunday, June 30. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

With the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising this Friday, Pride Month is reaching its peak this week. This is also the first year that WorldPride will be held in New York. The event, which was first held in Rome in 2000, promotes LGBTQ issues on an international level through parades and other cultural activities and has previously been held in Jerusalem, London, Toronto and Madrid. As the month comes to an end on Sunday, there are a number of local events scheduled for residents to celebrate. 

NYC Pride March

Perhaps the most well-known Pride event in the city is the annual Pride March. As in recent years, the march travels along Fifth Avenue but the route changed last year to include a new memorial dedicated to New York City men, women and children who have died of AIDS on Seventh Avenue at West 12th Street. The march starts at noon on Sunday, June 30 at 26th Street and Fifth Avenue just north of Madison Square Park and will head south. The route will then go west at Eighth Street towards the Stonewall National Monument in the West Village, then will head north again on Seventh Avenue, traveling past the NYC AIDS Memorial Park at West 12th Street and ending at West 23rd Street and Seventh Avenue. 

Dueling Drag Queens

This performance of dueling drag queens is part of the Union Square Partnership’s Citi Summer in the Square that takes place every Thursday through August 8. Every week features a different dueling act on the South Plaza main stage in Union Square and during Pride Week on Thursday, June 27 at 5 p.m. will feature Screaming Queens, a boutique entertainment company providing drag queens, impersonators, colorful theme characters and offbeat cabaret artists. Audience members can cheer for their favorite drag queen to win the title of “Miss Citi Summer in the Square 2019.”

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Middle Collegiate combines Juneteenth and Pride celebration

Middle Collegiate Church’s Rev. Jacqui Lewis with Shan Gilani, husband of late activist Gary Ranker and Ranker’s son Kevin (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Middle Collegiate Church combined civil rights and Pride for an all-inclusive Juneteenth celebration last week. Senior minister Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis said that the event for Pride month was consciously held on Juneteenth. The holiday, celebrated on June 19, commemorates the emancipation of all slaves from the former Confederate states in 1865.

“We wanted to do something Juneteenth-related because it doesn’t get nearly enough recognition,” Lewis said. “We’ve been celebrating Pride 24/7/365 at Middle for decades and we’re super excited to combine these two liberation movements. This was a way to celebrate these two things together.”

The event, which honored civil rights activist Ruby Sales and gay rights activist Gary Ranker, who died earlier this year, also served as the launch of the photo exhibit, “Queer Faith,” which was also featured at the Union Theological Seminary in East Harlem.

Sales was at the event and spoke about realizing that she was a lesbian, coming out and joining the gay rights movement while fighting for civil rights.

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Middle Collegiate Church hosts rally protesting abortion bans

Artist and activist Viva Ruiz spoke at a rally in support of abortion on the steps of Middle Collegiate Church on Second Avenue this past Tuesday.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

To the uninitiated, Middle Collegiate Church might seem like an unusual place to hold a rally in support of abortion, given many churches’ stance on the subject. But Executive Minister Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft wants everyone to know that it’s exactly the right place to hold a rally in support of abortion.

“Middle Collegiate is a very progressive church and we believe the struggle for reproductive justice is a struggle we all carry and people should have the right to choose,” she said.

Hambrick Ashcraft, who is also a Stuyvesant Town resident, was the driving force behind such a rally that was held outside the Second Avenue church in the East Village this past Tuesday, one of hundreds of rallies held across the country protesting the new wave of bans on abortion in a number of different states in recent weeks.

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Third time’s the charm for Stuyvesant Town flea

Playground 9 was bustling with vendors and shoppers at the Stuyvesant Town Flea Market this past Saturday. See Town & Village’s website for more photos of the event. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

After two failed attempts earlier this month due to rain, the Stuy Town flea market finally had its day in the sun last weekend with hundreds of residents searching for hidden treasures from their neighbors.

The market was originally scheduled for Saturday, May 4, and was rescheduled to the following day because of the weather, although when it quickly became clear that May 5 would be a washout as well, management postponed the event to last Saturday with fingers crossed and another slew of possible rain dates. But the additional raindates proved unnecessary as the weather cooperated this past weekend, with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid to high 70s.

General manager Rick Hayduk said that it seemed like a number of vendors who reserved a spot for the original date never alerted management that they wouldn’t be able to make the new date that was scheduled due to the rain, leaving the spot empty on the day of the market, but he said that the number of no-shows was still similar to that of last year.

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Ecological City Procession for Climate Solutions returns

Ecological City, a march with performances aimed at highlighting climate change, made its way through the East Village and Lower East Side on Saturday. (Photos by Rachel Elkind)

Environmental activists resembling aquatic creatures as well as land animals and other nature-inspired characters marched, danced and recited poetry as they made their way through the East Village and Lower East Side on Saturday.

The colorful costume parade was the second annual Ecological City Procession for Climate Solutions, organized by Earth Celebrations founder/director Felicia Young.

(Click through to see more photos from the procession)

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Cauz for Pawz holds animal art show

Artist Mary Alice Orito with Cathryn Duhigg, founder of Cauz for Pawz (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, November 12, Cauz for Pawz, a thrift shop that benefits animals, held its first art exhibition/benefit, showcasing animal-themed works by Mary Alice Orito.

Collages made from different kinds of paper ranging from the shredded insides of securitized envelopes to slick catalogues for furniture created fur, feathers and whiskers on portraits of dogs, cats and birds.

Digital paintings of cats were also on display along with throw pillows with images printed on them from the original pieces. While some of the art came down following the opening, other works from the show, “My Menagerie,” remain available for purchase at the shop.

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Flatiron BID presents ‘23 Days of Flatiron Cheer’ event series

The rendering shows “Happy,” a soon-to-be unveiled holiday installation at the Flatiron Plaza. (Rendering courtesy of Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership BID)

On Monday, November 19, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District will launch its seventh annual “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer” programming and unveil, in partnership with Van Alen Institute, a vibrant public art installation – “Happy.”

The event series will kick off on Monday, November 19 from 6-8 p.m. at Flatiron North Public Plaza, 23rd Street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue.

The event will offer a preview of “23 Days,” which runs from Saturday, December 1 to Sunday, December 23 and features free, holiday-themed events. This year’s “23 Days” also will include a food drive, free fitness classes, and an ongoing series of food features with top chefs in the district.

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Arts Club honors its old adversary

Arlene Harrison, president of the Gramercy Park Block Association, was recognized for her years of community service at the National Arts Club’s 120th anniversary gala. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images North America)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

In an event no one in the neighborhood could have foreseen sans a crystal ball just a decade ago, the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park honored Gramercy Park Block Association President Arlene Harrison at the club’s 120th anniversary gala.

While Harrison and the club have enjoyed a positive working relationship in recent years, she was actively involved in investigations that resulted in the ousting of the club’s former president, O. Aldon James, for misusing the club’s funds and real estate.

Arthur Barnes, chairman of the gala held on Saturday, November 3 and a member of the club’s board of governors, said that the awards were specifically in recognition of community service and the award for Harrison was due to her long-standing relationship with the club and Gramercy Park.

“She’s a tremendously effective advocate of Gramercy Park,” Barnes said. “She’s been a member of the club for many years and we wanted to recognize her leadership within our community, including with the 13th Precinct only two blocks away, and with Brotherhood Synagogue and Calvary Church.”

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Stuy Town Halloween events for residents

Halloween display in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

StuyTown property Services presents the following free Halloween events for residents. Guests are asked to bring their resident IDs.

Family Halloween Fun-Fest

On Tuesday, October 30 from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on the Oval, families are invited to come in costume to the annual fair, which this year will feature five bounce houses for various ages, carnival snacks, a craft area with rubbed art, buttons, crowns, puppets, murals, a balloon-filled pumpkin patch with mini pumpkins for decorating, live music and guest entertainers with magic and mayhem.

Editor’s note: This event has been rescheduled from October 27 due to a predicted nor’easter.

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Harvest in the Square raises $430G for Union Square Park

Tim Meyers, chef at Bocce USQ (at left) at Harvest in the Square (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Harvest in the Square, the annual food festival that serves as a fundraiser for Union Square Park, raised $430,000 at this year’s event, topping last year’s fundraising amount of $368,000.

Union Square Partnership executive director Jennifer Falk said that a portion of the money raised always goes to programming in the park, such as free community programs through summer in the square, as well as landscaping of park and plazas and capital work to make repairs.

The Partnership will work with the Parks Department over the winter to develop ideas for what the park needs and work on whatever project is chosen will begin next April. The money raised through last year’s Harvest in the Square was used to build out brand new seating area just south of where the mother and child fountain is on the west side of the park between 15th and 16th Streets. The Partnership said that in the last 23 years, the event has raised a total of $6.7 million.

Falk noted that a significant portion of the money from last year was used to replace equipment in the playgrounds and to replace some of the park lighting with LED energy.

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Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood returns on September 29

Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood, pictured in 2016 (Photo by Maya Rader)

By Sabina Mollot

Back for its sixth year, Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood, hosted by Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, Inc., will return to Irving Place on Saturday, September 29. This year, the food festival and fundraiser will offer tastings from 25 eateries.

Each year the event has grown in popularity, with the restaurant owners often the ones to reach out to the event’s organizer to participate, the GNA’s president, Alan Krevis, said.

“We’re happy to have the restaurants back with us and we appreciate all the people who’ve been supporting us for the past six years,” he said.

Over the years, the event, which takes place under an open sky, rain or shine, has been frequented by tourists but mostly attended by local foodies.

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