11th annual NYC Zombie Crawl inundates North Brooklyn with undead frolics
Local Celebs Add Gravitas to Celebration of the Macabre
Independence Day weekend brought long days and high heat to the streets of Williamsburg. The nation’s 141st birthday approached, an event celebrated by Americans from all walks of life. (For more photos, click here.)
And not just life.
On July 2, hordes of blood-drenched, gore-streaked, vestment-shrouded shambling zombies lurched around The Charleston, a popular neighborhood hangout on Bedford Avenue. Groans, cries and inchoate moans filled the air as undead Brooklynites shocked passersby, elicited tears from small children and posed for photos with bemused tourists. Inside the dark bowels of The Charleston, undead wannabes had their makeup completed by a quartet of face and body paint artists who specialize in the esthetics of the macabre.
The 11th Annual Brooklyn Zombie Crawl — sponsored by NYC Zombie Crawl, Halloween Adventure and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, and executed under the watchful (not to mention sanguineous red) eye of actor and SFX specialist Doug Sakmann, aka NYPD Sgt. Kabukiman —boasted some strange bedfellows not typically associated with post-mortem shenanigans, including Grand Marshal and candidate for Brooklyn borough president Ben Kissel and Reform Party Chair and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.
“I’m running on a platform of substantial criminal justice reform,” Kissel explained, eschewing, at least for the moment, gore-themed makeup or vestments of the grave. His beige sport coat started out the afternoon snazzy and unstained. “It’s long past time we close Rikers Island once and for all. People arrested can be held in their home borough. We’re also looking to reduce borough spending — currently the borough president has three chauffeurs on staff. I can take subway or MTA bus.”
“The undead…?” he was asked.
“They’re the most neglected constituents,” Kissel laughed. “We want them to know we haven’t forgotten them.”
A short while later, a small group wearing red jackets and berets arrived. Sliwa joined the cadaverous goings on.
“We look out for everyone,” he explained with a laugh. “Even the non-living.”
Declining at first to undergo zombification, Sliwa instead organized his team to help keep the walking dead out of the way of traffic. As 6:30 p.m. approached, Sgt. Kabukiman appeared, hefting large super soakers filled with red-colored syrup to apply the finishing touches to his slavering horde.
His sport coat now stained a proper crimson, Kissel lead the march along Bedford Avenue. Passersby on the sidewalk laughed, some cringed; parents with toddlers placed hands over the kids’ eyes. By then, Sliwa’s face was a dead white, eye sockets wells of black in contrast to his trademark red beret.
The putrescent procession was led across McCarren Park, into Greenpoint and made a pit stop at A Bar Brooklyn, after which the crimson crew shambled along Manhattan Avenue, passing bemused FDNY members awaiting Chinese take-out, then pausing for pictures on the steps of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church before lurching to their final destination, an after-party at the former Polonnaise, now Brooklyn Bazaar, on Greenpoint Avenue.
The after-party, hosted by satanic emcee Zac Amico, featured musical performances by Jess O’Lantern, J and the Nines, Sexual Suicide, and Uncle Jack and the 18 Wheel Gang. Mark “The Knife” Faje and Dr. Claw of Coney Island stunned the cadaverous crowd with hair-raising demonstrations of chainsaw juggling and bullwhip finesse, while a fellow named Joe Lunchbox dangled bottles of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer from his genitals while one zombie and one human engaged in a drink-off.