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The Costumed Canines of the Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade

Tim Schreier and Dana Varinsky

The champions of the 22nd annual Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade were no strangers to the winner’s circle. The pup that ranked Best in Show has won a similar contest on the Upper East Side the last three years, dressed as a hurricane and as Beyonce. Gracie, winner of the second round, took Best in Show two years ago as Scarlett O’Hara. That year, Benny the boxer also got a prize as Internet sensation Antoine Dodson.

IMG_0093Dana Varinsky Benny the Boxer as Butthead

This year it was Benny’s behind that got all the attention: glasses and a wig were perched atop his tiny tail to make it look like a wiggling nose.

The Butthead costume was spontaneous. “I wasn’t sure I was going to dress him up,” said Benny’s owner, Michael Godere. But the dog’s godfather, Grover Guinta, came over that morning with a bag of wigs and glasses. “We just improvised,” Mr. Godere said, laughing when another dog sniffed Benny’s rear-end. “It’s great when the other dogs try to kiss his butt.” Read more…

So Many Halloween Events You’ll Lose Your Head

A teaser video for the “Mad Supper” installation at Ideal Glass.

“Ghosts of New York Tour: Peter Stuyvesant And His Ghostly Neighbors Of The East Village”
During this tour of some of the neighborhood’s spooky sites, the tour guide will perform as a downtown denizen from the past, such as Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain and Washington Irving. 7 p.m., tour begins at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, 131 East 10th Street at Second Avenue, (718) 591-4741,; $25.

“Halloween Haunting: Phantom Pub Crawl of the East Village Starring Harry Houdini”
Join the search for Harry Houdini, Edgar Allan Poe, Jonathan Swift and other ghosts known for their fondness for the drink, at some of their favorite drinking spots. The tour meets in front of the lion sculpture in front of St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, northwest corner of Tenth Street and Second Avenue. 6:30 p.m. $25 by credit card online; $30 in person if space is available.
Read more…

Mano a Mano, La Sirena Preparing For Day of the Dead

Day Of The Dead StatuesNicole Guzzardi Day of the Dead figurines at La Sirena.
Day Of The Dead StatuesNicole Guzzardi

La Sirena, the Mexican memorabilia shop that got news of a whopping rent hike in July, will live to see another Day of the Dead.

Despite earlier indications that she planned to close her store at 27 East Third Street, Dina Leor now says she won’t give up (or pack up) until she receives written documentation from Tower Brokerage that her rent will increase by 42 percent.

Asked about her future plans, she told The Local, “I don’t know yet because it’s not clear yet what we’re negotiating. They told me 42 percent but I said I want it in writing.” She said she made the request about a month ago.

While she continues to pay rent on a month-by-month basis, Ms. Leor is having merchandise shipped in from Mexican artisans, in hopes that Day of the Dead will mean killer business. “I really need stuff to get sold because I don’t want to move all this when I move, but also I need the money,” she said. Read more…

The Local’s Scary-Good Guide to Halloween

The East Village boasts the city’s oldest non-sectarian graveyard, its oldest ghost, its biggest costume store, its coolest Goth and Day of the Dead shops, and (let’s face it) its very best doggie costume parade. Obviously, this is the place to be on Halloween, so click any of the stories below to see how to celebrate this year.

Events Guide New York Marble Cemetery Tour Costume Hunt - Halloween Adventure Day of The Dead Shopping Tompkins Dog Parade Haunted Ghost Walk Shopping for Fangs Image Map

And Now, A Message From Your Local Pharmacist

Death and MedicineBrendan Bernhard

From all of us here at CVS,
Welcome to Death.
Please pay for your medications
underneath the skeletons.

Whether a foot from the grave,
or a perky teen,
God Speed! God Save!
There’s nothing like Halloween!

The Day | Williamsburg Is East Village East

Occupy Wall StreetSuzanne Rozdeba L.E.S. Jewels and John Penley at Occupy Wall Street.

Runnin’ Scared interviews the bloggers behind EV Grieve and Save The Lower East Side to get their thoughts on why, as Save The Lower East Side pointed out yesterday, Grieve’s commenters are so dismissive of John Penley’s plans to occupy Tompkins Square Park this weekend.  Says Grieve, “Some of the newer residents seem to be more interested in finding the perfect drunk brunch, tweeting about cupcakes and going out and watching, say, the Oklahoma-Texas game in sweatshirts and jerseys. Social movements are for the history books.”

Brooklyn Based notices, as have we, that Williamsburg is becoming “East Village East,” with outposts of Mama’s and Vanessa’s Dumpling House due to open later this month, and an offshoot of Cafe Mogador planned as well. “The recession really hit the East Village pretty hard and we saw our clientele dropping,” explains Jeremiah Clancy, the owner of Mama’s. “It pushed the last notion of young people out because the rents were so high.”

Speaking of Mama’s, the southern food trend continues: EV Grieve notices a Facebook update indicating that Double Wide, a “bar and southern kitchen” will open this weekend at 505 East 12th Street. Their sloppy Joes “bear only the finest ingredients.” Read more…

The Day | Score One For Bookworms

Theater for the New CityIan Gordon A street performance by the Theater for the New City.

Good Morning, East Village.

Hot on the heels of Michael Moore’s rallying cry for St. Mark’s Bookshop, the East Village book scene notches another victory. The New York Post reports that East Village Books owner Donald Davis helped apprehend a notorious New York City library thief in a sting that included the use of wrestling moves. This would make a great movie or, well, book.

City Room has run a collection of photographs by Leland Bobbe, a regular in the Downtown scene of the 1970s who shot the likes of Patti Smith, Mink DeVille and The Ramones.

The International Business Times takes a look at the Occupy Wall Street protests and finds a few similarities with the Tompkins Square Park Riot of 1988. Do you think the two have much in common?
Read more…

East Village Halloween Scenes

IMG_9372Maya Millett Trick or treating siblings Ayodele and Adetayo Abinusawa, Alexia and Leo Muentes, and their Iron Man-costumed friend, Ethan Unthank, take a break from collecting sweets along First Avenue.

“Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!” sang Adetayo Abinusawa, 7, to a gaggle of fellow trick-or-treaters as they waited for a crosswalk light to turn near First Avenue and Avenue A. He and his older sister, Ayodele, 10, have been trick-or-treating in the neighborhood their whole lives, and by now could be considered local experts on the subject. “The Dunkin’ Donuts usually gives out free munchkins,” Ayodele says, adjusting the black felt pirate hat on her head, “but this year, it was just candy.”

Across the East Village, excited groups of children popped in and out of the neighborhood’s many restaurants, shops and corner stores Sunday afternoon in the hopes of accumulating as much sugary loot as their pumpkin pails could handle. They clustered close on street corners, pushing aside wings and antennas to get a better look at their wares; they traded sticky taffy for lollipops and strategized their next moves.
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A Chance To Dance With Witches

StarrHannah Rubenstein Starr Ravenhawk is a high priestess of the Wiccan Family Temple, which hosts its sixth annual witches ball on Sunday.

This Sunday night is the one time of the year that a mere mortal can cavort with “real witches.”

The sixth annual Witches Masquerade Ball, at The Delancey in the Lower East Side, occurs on Halloween night. Billed as “A Night for all Vamps, Pagans, Witches, Druids, Goths, Faerie Folk, Magical Folk, Indigos & Urbanites,” the Ball regularly draws hundreds of guests to its Halloween festivities, which include performances by belly dancers, an ancestral drum circle, Indian pop singers, dancing, and what is mysteriously referred to as “a secret midnight ritual.”

“We’ll put a spell on you!” laughs Starr Ravenhawk, a high priestess of the Wiccan Family Temple that hosts the Ball.

Starr, co-founder of the Wiccan Family Temple, describes the Wiccan group as an “eclectic, improvisational, all-inclusive open circle” based in the East Village. Twice a month, in a rented storefront on East Ninth Street, a motley group of Wiccans and curious guests come together to practice the religion — recent offerings include “Witchcraft Ethics” and “Psychic Self-Defense” — in a public forum unimaginable in years past.

Starr has many monikers — real estate agent, minister, high priestess, mother, and independent business owner. Many people have told her that she bears a striking resemblance to Chaka Khan, and she does — if the singer wore a silver pentagram necklace and wove purple strands into her curls.
Read more…

For Halloween, Some Upscale Treats

This Sunday the streets will undoubtedly be filled with little witches, vampires and Justin Biebers clamoring for candy bars.

But if you’re looking for more than just penny candy, there are plenty of upscale treats in the East Village for you to eat:

Bond Street Chocolate SkullsLaura Kuhn Chocolate skulls at Bond Street Chocolate.

Bond Street Chocolate
63 East Fourth Street
If it’s candy you’re after, Bond Street Chocolate sells dark chocolate skulls made of 70% chocolate. At $14, they’re not cheap, but proprietor Lynda Stern molds them like an artistan and tops them with a sprinkle of pure gold powder.

Vienero's Blood Orange DelightLaura Kuhn Blood Orange Delight at Veniero’s.

342 East 11th Street

Trying to complete your Snooki costume? Stop by Italian Bakery Veniero’s for some sweets. They make brightly-iced sugar cookies in the shapes of ghosts, Frankensteins and vampires for $3.50 each. Look in the glass cases for the serious sweets like the Autumn Trifle ($4.00)—made from layers of carrot cake, New York cheesecake and pumpkin topping. Equally devilish is the Blood Orange Delight ($4.50)—a combination of white chocolate sponge cake, white chocolate and blood orange puree, and dark chocolate ganache.

Butter Lane CupcakesLaura Kuhn Cupcakes at Butter Lane.

Tu-Lu’s Gluten Free Bakery
338 East 11th Street

Butter Lane
123 East Seventh Street

Cupcake eaters have choices. For strict dieters, Tu-Lu’s Gluten-Free Bakery decorates their gluten-free and vegan cupcakes in chocolate and vanilla icings with spooky sprinkles. The cupcakes, $2.95 a piece, come in chocolate, vanilla and red velvet and are made from rice tapioca and potato flour. Butter Lane goes the opposite route, loading up on the dairy with chocolate, vanilla and banana cupcakes slathered in buttery icing ($3.00 each). Fall flavors include apple spice and pumpkin.

What’s the best upscale treat on your block?