NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The 44th annual Village Halloween Parade went on as planned Tuesday night, despite a deadly attack not far away in Lower Manhattan hours earlier.
As CBS2’s Marc Liverman reported, the announcement that the parade would go on came less than two hours after the attack on the West Side bike path, which left eight people dead and more than a dozen injured.
“We will proceed with the parade and certainly we’ve added more resources, more police officers, heavy weapons teams, blocker vehicles on the street leading to the route as well as more sand trucks,” NYPD Chief Carlos Gomez said. “There’s also heavy weapons teams being deployed throughout the city at key iconic locations.”
The parade served not only as a display of costumes, but also as a show of the city’s strength and resilience.
Security was tight at the parade, and a police presence was seen everywhere – especially at cross-streets.
Some paradegoers noticed an increased police presence and secured barriers after the parade. The attack hours earlier involved a man driving a rented truck into a crowd of bicyclists and pedestrians in an area where there were no barriers.
“They’re further towards the side avenues and much narrower coming out of the subways, with officers watching closely — so it’s almost single-file as you come up the stairs out into the street,” said parade attended Tom Cacciato, “and that’s much different from years ago.”
Thousands of people lined the streets for the parade. Many said they were not going to let the terror attack hold them back – no matter what.
“I’m not going to let a loser scare me,” said Sid Chidiac of the West Village. “We’re strong. This is New York City.”
That feeling was echoed all along the route.
“You can’t be afraid of things, so you just have to go ahead and do what you normally were going to do every day,” said Margaret Conway of Jersey City.
Both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio participated in the parade.
Thousands turn out every year for the parade, which has turned into one of the largest public Halloween celebrations in the nation.
The parade, which is open to anyone in a costume, started in 1973 with a puppeteer marching with his family. Since then, it has grown into a televised extravaganza.
This year’s theme was Cabinet of Curiosities: An Imaginary Menagerie.
The parade grand marshal this year was Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Anjelica. She’ll ride on a specially-designed New Orleans-style float.
The Village Halloween Parade runs from Sixth Avenue from Spring Street north to 16th Street.
In the attack Tuesday, police said the suspect entered the West Side bike path at Houston Street in a rented Home Depot truck around 3 p.m. The truck rammed into several people on the path from behind and ultimately crashed into a school bus on Chambers Street.
The man came out of the truck after striking the school bus. Witnesses reported that the suspect yelled “Allahu Akbar!” upon exiting the truck.
The suspect – identified by sources as Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, 29 – was shot and wounded by police and was in custody at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue early Tuesday evening.