Transplants and outsiders may not realize this, but there are few things as wonderful as celebrating Halloween in the city. "Mostly we got dressed up and then ran wild," Dodai Stewart wrote this week about her Halloween in NYC experiences, "down halls, up stairs, down stairs, taking over the building, high on sugar, swatting through the fake cobwebs strewn through the hallways." Certain neighborhoods go above and beyond when it comes to creating an inviting Halloween atmosphere for children and adults alike, but one of the best in Manhattan can be found on West 69th Street, which always provides a cornucopia of spooky sights.
We previously wrote about one of the cool over-the-top townhouses on the block in 2013, but that was barely scratching the surface of what you'll find there. If you visit on Halloween night this year, you'll see over a dozen buildings on the block between Broadway and Central Park West (particularly near Columbus) that have incredibly intricate and lively displays filled with zombies, skeletons, ghouls and other creatures of the night.
Thanks to the West 69th Street Block Association, there has been a concentrated effort to turn the block into the best stop for families on Halloween night since the 1970s, with just about every building along that stretch giving out candy too. You can check out photos of just a few of those elaborate houses up above (who got their displays ready earlier).
If you want to learn more about the history of the tradition, and how Gwen Verdon inadvertently inspired it, read this short history, or watch the video below.
Several of the houses are still putting their displays together in anticipation of tonight's festivities, so there'll be lots of surprises to come. Last year, there was a circus-themed house with clowns and live music; at another house, two people were fastened to windows, contorting themselves to scare people walking by; and another house on the block had a comic book theme, with Joker and Harley Quinn cutouts. You can check out a video of some of those below.