Looking to make up for a darkened Halloween for many kids thanks to Superstorm Sandy and to serve as a giant re-opening part of sorts for downtown Nyack, a group of organizations put on “Booo Sandy!” Saturday afternoon.
Main Street was blocked off from cars for three hours on Saturday from Franklin Street to Broadway, allowing children to get dressed up in their Halloween costumes and go trick-or-treating at many Nyack businesses.
“Nyack is open for business,” said Scott Baird, president of the Nyack Chamber of Commerce. “There’s no curfew, no restrictions on food or alcohol. We want everyone to know that Nyack is back open.”
The event was organized by the chamber, the Village of Nyack, Art, Craft & Antique Dealers Association (ACADA), Friends of the Nyacks, ArtsRock and more. Jeffrey Friedberg and the Bossy Frog Band performed in the Riverspace parking lot.
There was face painting with proceeds going to People2People and the Sweet Spot Candy Shoppe donated some of its proceeds to Soup Angels. Both non-profits also had booths at the event as well.
Baird said they got authorization for the event Monday night and reached out to organizations and friends to help put everything together in less than a week.
“Each organization has different competencies and they all immediately stepped up to help however they could,” Baird said. “We reached to all the businesses we could and even asked bar owners to try and have specials on their menu while the event was going on so it could really be an all ages event. And hopefully it will lead into the night with even more people coming out later.”
Annette van Loon, owner of the Chocolaterie, said even throughout the first 45 minutes or so of the event, she had tons of customers coming into her chocolate shop. On Saturday, van Loon was holding her annual birthday celebration, where she offers customers a free item to celebrate her own birthday. She said when she found out the “Booo Sandy!” event was the same day she planned for her birthday celebration, she was excited for the overlap.
She handed out hot chocolate for free to her customers, made by dipping a block of chocolate on a stick into a hot cup of milk and stirring. She said she’s been doing the birthday celebration for about five years.
While van Loon was excited by the makeup Halloween event, she said she’d like to see a more regular event close to the holidays to celebrate all the local business in Nyack. She said that the street fairs are great, but an event closer to the holidays could be a big help for businesses as well.
“It’d be a good way to support local business,” she said. “Sometimes around the holidays, I don’t think people realize just how much Nyack has to offer. We have all these great local businesses, like Hickory Dickory Dock and all their amazing holidays decorations. We have a great bookstore. There’s just so much and I think around the holidays, a lot of people end up going to the mall or shopping online even though here in Nyack they’d get treated more like a customer and less like just a number.”
Still, van Loon said the event on Saturday was a good idea and she and the workers are her store happily handed out candy and complimented kids on their costumers.
Many businesses handed out candy as well, or left a tray of candy out at the front of their store on Saturday. Many bars had someone standing or sitting near the front of the bar handing out candy as well.
“I think this was really a day for the whole community,” Baird said. “Everybody’s bringing something to the event and I think it shows that Nyack is a place people want to be because we all come together after disaster.”