Outside on 23rd St. the din of the thoughtless celebrating “Election Night” filled the air and penetrated our walls. Henri and I walked out a few minutes to buy cigarettes for Mrs. H. . . . Bryan is defeated for the third time in his attempt to be President. . . . I voted for him for I feel that some stop must be put to the rottenness in the Re- publican administration. But, as usual, I’m on the losing side. “Bill” Taft, a jolly looking fat man designated by Roosevelt as his succes- sor, gets the office—and the cancerous growth is to have four more years. I’m not a Democrat, I am of no party. I’m for change—for the operating knife when a party rots in power. I am certainly ashamed of the cowardice of the American voters.
November 3, 1908
New York Diaries: 1609 to 2009 p. 361
New Orleans may own Fat Tuesday, but on Halloween, it’s New York City that kills. I make a point of catching some of the annual Greenwich Village H-ween Parade as it storms up Sixth Avenue, partly because there’s a viewing station within a stone’s throw of my house, but more particularly because it offers an impious recap of the Year that Was. Who will the Lords of Misrule have chosen to drub this time? Big Oil? Big Pharm? Big Hedge Fund? Spare the rod; spoil the CEO. The latex favorites in the costume store two doors up, are largely presidents. Obama, Clinton, and Reagan, Kennedy (before assassination) Lincoln (after). Rush Limbaugh is, for some reason, tossed into this mix, but he’s truly not looking his best.”
The mayhem is “themed”. Meaning as spontaneous as it appears, it has a producer and a Grand Marshal ( This year Whoopi Goldberg.) Last year’s theme was “Revival” – the parade had been cancelled the previous season due to the havoc of Sandy — but everyone did pretty much as she or he pleased, which was spookily upbeat in the interest of – well – revival. This year it’s Garden of Earthly Delights, a nod to Hieronymus Bosch’s phantasmagoric triptych. It’s good to get back to basics.
The Parade has a mission statement but only one rule. You may not cross the parade route except at Sixth and Canal and only between 6:30 and 8:30. No exceptions. Seriously. I don’t care if you are dilated to seven centimeters, you are not getting past that police barricade.
Garden of Earthly Delights Museo del Prado Madrid