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Robots lead NYC Halloween parade

By ZHANG RUINAN in New York | China Daily USA | Updated: 2018-11-02 02:54
Robots and android costumes highlighted in the 45th annual Village Halloween parade in Manhattan on Wednesday night. [Photo by Zhang Ruinan/China Daily]

It’s the one night in New York City that you can see all kinds of ghosts, ghouls, monsters and villains in real flesh haunting the streets — the annual Village Halloween parade, and this year, the crowd was joined by some artificial friends.

Themed “I AM a Robot!”, robots and android costumes were the focus of the 45th annual parade in Greenwich Village, Manhattan on Wednesday night. About a million people were expected to march and watch the parade, which went up Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street.

“We do the parade every year; there are a lot of parts of it that are very traditional, but then, every year we also make something new,” said Jeanne Fleming, the artistic and producing director of the Village Halloween Parade. “This year we decided the theme would be ‘I AM a robot!’ Largely because of those boxes that we will have to check (online) to say, “I’m not a robot.’

“And the idea is that if we make robots, in order to make ourselves better, faster and smarter, what would robots do when they become conscious, what would they make?” said Fleming, adding that she hopes the theme could inspire people about possibilities, changes and transformation

Nicole Thurmond said she utilized old discs and pizza boxes as a robot costume. [Photo by Zhang Ruinan/China Daily]

Fleming said that this year also marks the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein, the Gothic science fiction novel by English author Mary Shelley.

“It was the beginning of the artificial life notion of trying to make something better than ourselves made up of parts of ourselves,” she added.

“I love it!” said Nicole Thurmond, who put together old discs and pizza boxes as a robot costume to participate in the parade.

“They always come up with something interesting, and Halloween is my favorite time of the year because you always get to be somebody else, which I think, is a deep secret that we all share,” she said.

“Because of this year’s theme, I’m no longer just a mysterious ghost, but also a half machine,” said Sam Hein.

Security was tight.

“We will have deployed thousands of plainclothes as well as uniformed members of the service,” NYPD Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison said on Tuesday, “as well as our Critical Response Command, our Strategic Response Group, K-9, aviation, as well as the Emergency Service Unit will be deployed.”

Jiang Ziqi contributed to the story.

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