Clifton Officials Claim Halloween Display Poses A Safety Hazard
CLIFTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey dentist has yet again transformed his Clifton home into a house of horrors for Halloween despite concerns from the city.
Each year, thousands of people flock to Dr. Wayne Gangi’s home, which has been a destination for scare seekers for more than a decade.
“I’m giving back to the community, something that a lot of people unfortunately in this day and age can’t afford to have,” Gangi said. “It’s just something to see and when people get here they realize there’s a lot to look at.”
1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports
“Approximately 5,000 to 8,000 people were here last Halloween night alone,” Gangi told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman. “Police vehicles circling my house like sharks.”
The city claims the frightening display on Grove Street is a traffic hazard that puts passing cars and pedestrians in harm’s way. Police issued hundreds of traffic summonses last year and promise a repeat this year.
Gangi told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan that the parking crackdown creates more of a safety hazard.
“My concern is when they suspend all the parking around the perimeter of the area it causes young children to walk that much further to get here,” he said.
WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports
“No good deed goes unpunished,” Gangi told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg.
City Manager Matt Watkins said officials are not trying to stop the display, they’re just trying to make it safer for the public.
In talks with the city, Gangi said he was urged to hire two off-duty cops to handle the traffic flow on his own dime.
“We asked him to do nothing different than we ask other groups,” Watkins told Silverman.
“They wanted me to hire several off-duty cops to control the traffic because they said they did not have the manpower to offer any in the shifts that led up to Halloween,” Gangi said. “It’s just ironic that when I was adverse to that they had five to six cars at any given point circling my house like sharks.”
Officials also suggested he remove the decorations and instead display them at City Hall or some other public venue.
Gangi refused and the ghouls, goblins and ghosts are out in force all over his property for a Halloween tradition that is in its 12th year.
“The show must go on,” Gangi said. “The little bit of expense it would’ve cost the town to just furnish me some protection or issues of traffic flow is a drop in the bucket compared to what I’ve invested in the town as an opportunity for people just to come see.”
Gangi said he provides the decorations to the community free of cost and dispenses candy to several thousand children each year.
The display features giant spiders crawling on the roof, rotting corpses, skeletons, skulls and other standout decorations.
“A young girl that’s on the electrocution table and she’s mouthing off terrible things to people walking by and then she gets zapped with electricity and she thrashes around,” Gangi said. “That’s a show stopper for most people.”
Watkins acknowledges that Gangi is not breaking any laws and that he is free to display any decorations he wants on his own private property.
A no parking rule will be in effect from 5 p.m. to midnight in the area before and on Halloween.