Monthly Archives: October 2014

Zombies, Zombies Everywhere… Are You Scared of Them?

It is not that New Jersey lacks a place in the Guinness Book of World Records… no, not at all. The tallest sand castle… the most wooden train whistles blown at once… fastest time for carving 1 ton of Halloween pumpkins… largest group Stop, Drop & Roll demonstration, whatever that is…. New Jerseyans hold plenty of world records. But the one that was lost… the one that slipped through, that was the most precious of them all! Yes, I’m talking about the one for the Largest Gathering of Zombies!

In October 2013, the Zombie Walk at Asbury Park boardwalk wrested the honour from the Twin Cities, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, with 9,295 zombies parading and partying till late. But alas, Asbury Park and New Jersey lost this year on October 12, when Minneapolis assembled 15,458 zombies! Come October 2015, it will be an interesting contest to watch. Of course, my money is on the Garden State! 🙂

A Zombie Walk is an organized gathering of people who dress up as and pretend to be the ‘living dead’ or zombies. Usually, there is a parade where they get to flaunt their clever costumes and the fantastic makeup. And boy, is some of that makeup inspired!

The general idea is to create a sense of horror and revulsion, often providing clues to how they met their ends.

Looking at some of the getups, I was really wondering how it was achieved and how much time was spent in the effort.

And blood… copious amounts of blood poured liberally all over. Often, free blood is advertised and distributed by the organizers to ensure that the lack thereof doesn’t make the gore any less scary!

The lurching, stumbling, groping way a zombie is supposed to walk, with eyes skywards and arms extended, must definitely have originated with the zombie themed movies.

And how some of them keep in character throughout the walk is amazing! But then, there are others who cannot resist the temptation to smile for the camera, forgetting that it is totally un-zombie like behaviour! 🙂

Initially small zombie gatherings used to take place in the flash mob or improve style, mostly spur of the moment affairs.The first official zombie walk was in Toronto, in 2003. A small group of people, intent upon saving Halloween from commercialism and putting horror back in Halloween, dressed themselves up as the walking dead and shuffled through unsuspecting neighbourhoods.

It became an annual affair, growing in size every year, with zombies in their thousands participating in the recent years.

From Toronto, it spread to other cities. Currently most major cities, all over the world, have organised Zombie Walks, with the spirit of competition growing as well.

In addition to run of the mill zombies, some participants represent characters from history or fiction.

She must be the youngest participant this year!

The Asbury Park Boardwalk where the annual New Jersey Zombie Walk takes place.

The parade along the boardwalk.

And maybe I haven’t seen enough zombie movies, I’m yet to understand why they hanker after ‘brains’!



21 Oct 2014

Possible Jumper…

I think I have mentioned that the salt mine that employs me, is located in Times Square. Yes, right bang in the middle of the universe. Yesterday, we were all at work when the public address system sputtered up. Usually that thing is used to announce fire drills, but this was in the afternoon and fire drills happen in the morning. Could it be a real fire? “Attention please… 42nd Street is closed between 7th and 8th avenues due to police activity. There is a possible jumper somewhere on 42nd.” What? Possible jumper? On 42nd? In a minute, we were at the windows.
From the 14th floor, where I’m located, we had a direct view of that part of 42nd Street. This is what we saw…

There is this guy in a white shirt sitting on the wall of the terrace. And there are cops in different uniforms on the terrace, but most of them are keeping their distance. There are a few near the guy and actually talking to him. But even they are being careful not to get too close as they do not want to trigger any unwanted action.

It is 3 pm when the announcement is made. We don’t know how long he has been out on the wall. Looks like he is on the building that houses the ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ museum and ‘Dave & Buster’s’ diner.

Right next to Madame Tussaud’s. Must be around 12th floor height as he is slightly lower than out 14th floor.

The road below, 42nd St, has been closed off to all traffic, including pedestrians. We can see the police tape and vehicles blocking the traffic on one side. And the police below have positioned an inflated thingammie right below where a person would land in case he decided to jump.

See, that things is taller than a person! Meanwhile there are non-stop comments and conversations on our floor. What could motivate a person to go to such a drastic measure as committing suicide? Someone expresses the opinion that a person seriously planning suicide would never do so in such a public fashion; he wants to get something, that’s all. Some others are quick to refute… there are so many instances of people actually committing suicide in a very public fashion… what about that? I zoom the camera and look at him…

He seems to be quietly talking to the cops nearby. But not really looking at them. What could the cops be talking to him? What is there to say? Come on down and everything will be okay? I was fervently hoping the cops would be able to get through to him. Anyways, they were talking…

And I notice… the position of his legs. Apparently he is more relaxed now. And he is leaning towards the cops now. By this time, it is 4 pm… my usual time to leave for home. But there is no question of me going home, leaving that guy perched on the wall; I have to see the end of this. We are off and on going to the windows, checking up on progress. Things seem to be at a standstill. The talking continues. It is 4.30… 4.45… I’m at my desk. Suddenly, there is some noise from those at the windows. I rush… there is a collective sigh of relief. The cops are helping the guy from the wall!

He is led away, by a group of cops. Seem to be continuing to talk as they move inside the building. We couldn’t really make out whether he had cuffs on.

All is well that ends well! Time to go home. As I walk out of the building, I notice that 42nd Street is not yet opened. The police vehicles are jus leaving…

Okay, so these were the people talking to him! Great work, guys!
Here is a local report of the eventand another one.


17 Oct 2014