Around 2 million defiant New Yorkers ventured out for the city’s annual Halloween parade just hours after eight people were killed in a terror attack.
Security was heavy as the Greenwich Village parade started about a mile away from where a truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists along the bike path near the World Trade Centre memorial.
But the raucous spectacle, celebrating its 44th year, still rolled along with its floats, bands and spooky costumes.
“I’m not going to let it scare me,” Cathryn Strobl, a 23-year-old New Yorker, said as she waited for the parade to start in her Buffy the Vampire Slayer costume. “You can’t let it stop you from living your life.”
Around 2 million New Yorkers attended the parade (Getty Images)
Police said they added extra officers, heavy weapons teams and sand trucks as protective blockers along the parade route. But officials emphasised that New Yorkers should feel safe.
Governor Andrew Cuomo visited the route as the parade started, and Mayor Bill de Blasio assured residents and visitors earlier that police were out in force.
Security was increased in the wake of the terror attack (Getty Images)
“We are going to go about our business in the city, and we are not going to be deterred,” Mr de Blasio said.
Still, the mayor urged New Yorkers to be vigilant, adding: “Tell an officer immediately if you see anything unusual, anything that worries you.”
The parade, which is open to anyone wearing a costume, began in 1973 with a puppeteer marching with his family and grew into a televised extravaganza.
Ghosts, goblins, zombies, superheroes, men on stilts, human bumblebees and a float of topless people were among those making their way up Sixth Avenue as spectators bobbed to drumming and Caribbean music.
Still, the crowds seemed thinner than usual to Tamia Gholston. who suggested “the terrorist attack” could be the reason.
The annual Village Halloween Parade celebrated its 44th year (Getty Images)
Em Weiss was in the Big Apple from Seattle on business when her phone started buzzing on Tuesday with worried people trying to reach her after hearing about the attack.
She donned a cat-ear headband, drew whiskers on her face and came out to the parade.
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“Even though we’re shaking, we’re still strong. … We’re not living in fear,” said Ms Weiss, 28, who said the police presence kept her from feeling too nervous.
“It sends a message terrorism doesn’t win.”