Neighborhood’s Biggest Halloween Block Party Cancelled on Covid Concerns


Photo by Stephen Harmon of decoration on 69th Street a few years ago.

The famed Halloween block party on 69th Street between Columbus and Central Park West is being cancelled because of concerns by the organizers that they won’t be able to hold the event safely.

“While W. 69th Street is known for our fantastic Halloween party we are also known for being a caring community-we care on a city wide level and a local level,” wrote Eileen Vazquez, president of the West 69th Street Block Associatin, in an update to neighbors. “With this in mind, the steering committee for W. 69th Street Block has discussed what should be done this year and it was overwhelmingly agreed that the risk is too high given the amount of people who come to the block and the incredibly close proximity of everyone. Additionally, we don’t have the manpower to ask people for proof of vaccines, to offers masks, etc. This means that this year the block association will not apply for the permit to close the street, nor will we buy candy for distribution. This was a very tough decision to make given the history and popularity of the event but it is not a risk that should be taken.”

Last year was the first time in nearly 50 years that the event had to be cancelled.

Other Halloween events are still on, including Central Park’s pumpkin flotilla, scheduled for October 28.

NEWS | 17 comments | permalink
    1. West 95th says:

      Unfortunately West 95th Street between Columbus and CPW is also canceled

    2. Sid says:

      The rate of transmission outdoors is negligible. This is kind of a silly cancellation, also given the high rate of vaccinated UWS’ers.

      • CG UWS says:

        But at least half of the people who come to 69th St are under 12 and therefore unvaccinated. Outbreaks in schools have happened; kids can and do transmit, and they can and do get sick. I think it’s too early to say if the CP concert event caused any cases, but that was a majority-adult audience.

      • SCL says:

        Completely agree – absolutely ridiculous to cancel a block party OUTSIDE.

    3. Sid says:

      Furthermore, there have been several recent outdoor concerts in NYC numbering in the thousands of participants with no reports of COVID transmission.

      • Anon says:

        The Halloween party attracts children who are not yet eligible for the vaccines. Comparing to an outdoor concert full of vaccibated adults doesn’t make sense.

        • LivableCity says:

          Thank you! If priority 1 on Halloween isn’t keep it very safe for the unvaxxed under-12s…we are lost. Kids are bunched up and sidewalk and streets get very crowded with groups lining up for treats even during the younger kids time. Agree outdoors is usually safe but this might be an exception… This isn’t like soccer practice or recess at school. Very tough tho!

    4. Steve B says:

      Those were adults at those concerts. The percent of vaccinated trick or treaters is much closer to zero, given their average age. Seems reasonable to me. For comparison, and without questioning the wisdom of the school policy here, there have been over 3000 confirmed COVID cases in the NYC public schools in the last two or three weeks alone.

      Looking forward to Halloween 2022 . . .

    5. Steve B says:

      Also the vaccination rate at the really large outdoor concerts was 100%. So definitely not an apples to apples comparison.

    6. Charles says:

      Thanx Sid!

      A voice of reason and logic.

    7. Noemie Zysermann says:

      At this point, it’s really silly. Just require masks when ppl enter the street and be done with it. It’s outdoors!!

      • Robin says:

        Good idea, Naomi! Requiring people to wear masks at a Halloween event should be a no-brainier! 🤗

      • nemo paradise says:

        And when the Morlocks turned on their sirens, the Eloi dutifully filed into the caves.

        Some people would have us masked up and isolated until “there are no more cases.” This obviously will not happen; the only questions that remain about dropping all Covid restrictions/regulations are “where and when.”

        People voting with their feet and faces are saying “Right here and right now.”

    8. JS says:

      Sorry to hear this.

      If possible, perhaps the community could find a way to support Halloween for kids living in West Side homeless shelters or NYCHA buildings?

    9. Covid Jones says:

      Ridiculous. If it isn’t “safe” at a >73% full vaccination rate, with a sub-1% positivity rate, it will never be “safe” again.

      The tyrrany of the insane must be stopped.

      • cpwpj says:

        Takes one to call one, Covid Jones. Guess you haven’t heard/read that young children still cannot be vaccinated? Kudos to the 69th St. Assn.,many of whom have parented young children themselves and know how to protect them. They’re definitely not among the insane.

    10. Cathrine Steck says:

      There will also be NO Halloween event this year on 87th between West End and Riverside Drive, so please spread the word!