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Friday, December 18, 2015



A scant 20 miles from Somers, a legend was told of a headless horseman who haunted one of the townspeople in a fictional place called Sleepy Hollow. Was he the ghost of a soldier who lost his head to a Revolutionary War cannonball? Impossible to say, since if you have no head you have to hold your tongue. If you can find someone who's all ears you can probably work it out.

It is said that the specter of the headless horseman rides every Halloween night terrorizing all who find themselves in his path. Myself, my wife and friends Carmel and Charley decided to recreate our own version of the story, 25 miles south of the real Sleepy Hollow, in New York City. Instead of horses we used bicycles, and rode the beautiful Hudson River Greenway toward the West Village.

You can see just about anything bicycling along the Hudson. Once I saw a plane land in the river, and I thought two things: One, that it was astounding that everyone got out alive, and Two, that I bet you 10 bucks they actually got their luggage faster than usual.

On Halloween you can see even more things you never saw before, and frankly had no desire to. In order not to get costume-shamed we wore some nominal scare gear. I had on a Rastafarian wig, thinking I might get away with more because of my religion. I figured it would caught in my spokes within the first five minutes. Every time I ride a bicycle, something gets caught in my spokes- my pants cuffs, my jacket, a pizza, a rhododendren. My wife had on a pair of cat ears. I told her she had put them on backwards, and she said, "What did you say?"

You think of Manhattan as a diverse place, but it's actually a city full of aspiring rappers who drive for Uber. But on Halloween everyone has a new job, if only for one day. It's a great chance to try out an occupation you think you might be interested in and see how you like it. Also, you can see other peoples' reactions to your new career choice.

A four foot-eleven girl who weighs 91 pounds can be an NFL quarterback, and even with the odds stacked against her, I can almost guarantee she won't get flagged for as many delay-of-game penalties as some people I can think of.

A burly construction worker can be transformed into a beautiful girl in a gorgeous gown for one magical day. I always wonder how many lifestyle transitions start on Halloween night.

You can also see how you look with a tail. I once read that a cat uses his tail for balance, but I can tell you this: from what I saw on this Saturday night Halloween, the presence of a tail did not help anyone's balance very much.

The whole thing looked like a logistical nightmare for police, who were allegedly using high-tech facial scanning equipment to keep track of the crowd. FYI: if the police point the scanner at somebody wearing a Frankenstein mask, and your name pops up in the database, you need to start making some serious changes.

But in reality the police had so much help, they could pretty much take the night off. On duty this night in the Village were 324 Supermen, 439 Spidermen, 610 Batmen and a guy who looked like Gene Hackman. There were also 932 extra police in uniform, although most of those were costumes. My wife said she recognized some of them from a bachelorette party she went to, and yet I bet some of them still put in for overtime.

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