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Captain America and the Joker aren’t on the same side. They’re not even in the same (cinematic) universe. But on Saturday they and a few other heroes, super and regular, joined forces at the West 47th/48th Streets Block Association’s annual Children’s Halloween Party in Hell’s Kitchen Park.

Entertainment for the Hell’s Kitchen Park’s Children’s Halloween Party came from some superheroes and ordinary heroes — who provided plenty of fun for local children. Photo: Catie Savage
Hell’s Kitchen Park got a visit from a couple of Captain Americas for its 36th annual Children’s Halloween Party. Photo: Catie Savage

Children in costume got an early taste of Halloween with a party that has become a fixture for the community, with plenty of serious dressing up done by adults, who even arrived in the kinds of transport reserved for superheroes (and supervillains.) And the real heroes: the organizers who’ve been bringing a taste of Halloween to local children for decades. This year, the celebration were supplemented by adults from the Da Real United Ryders with cars and costumes.

The party started 35 years ago in effort to reclaim the park from drug activity and prostitution for just a few hours. Times have changed in Hell’s Kitchen, but the spectacle of Halloween hasn’t, as Saturday’s joyful children proved.

The West 47th/48th Streets Block Association turned Hell’s Kitchen Park into dressing-up heaven for children on Saturday and provided live music, to widespread delight from skeletons, fairies, princesses, cowgirls and many many more. Photo: Catie Savage
The party featured a parade of costumes for children taking part. Photo: Mary Jane Livingston

“We’ve come a long way from those days … with a lot of work from the block association, Community Board 4 and other local residents,” Elke Fears, the president of the West 47th/48th Streets Block Association told W42ST.

So transgressive was the idea of a party for children at the park in 1987 that the New York Times reported on it, saying: “For One Day, Tiny Goblins Oust Dealers at Park.”

“There were no clusters of bold drug dealers and addicts, or prostitutes in the bushes with customers. Instead, a host of tiny ninjas, winged fairies and blood-streaked witches ran about. On Halloween, several police officers were stationed at Hell’s Kitchen Park and the children could play,” the paper reported.

This year there wasn’t a police guard but there were superheroes, as well as the ordinary Hell’s Kitchen heroes who organize each year’s festivities. And at 5c, the lemonade stand was just as cheap as 1987.

Batman might want to know more about this: The Joker was spotted outside the park. Photo: Catie Savage
The prices for the lemonade would scare nobody, even if what most children want for Halloween is a good fright. Photo: Catie Savage
At 5c for lemonade, little wonder the stand was a favorite haunt for the partygoers. Photo: Mary Jane Livingston
35 years ago the block association was trying to make a tiny effort to clean up a park where drug dealers and prostitutes were hanging around. Now it’s ghosts and specters that are the problem, or at least were on Saturday. Photo: Catie Savage

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1 Comment

  1. LOVE those goblins! We who remember the bad old days salute you, too, all the grownup park heroes.

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