Manhattan Upper East Side Halloween
Last Halloween, the horror adorning the facade of the $49 million Upper East Side townhouse owned by the hedge fund billionaire Philip Falcone and his wife, Lisa Maria, was an aged crone cradling a dead baby. Inside a black hearse parked by the curb on East 67th Street, the Grim Reaper beheaded a corpse.
The crone is gone this year, perhaps in a nod to neighbors’ protests about a display that included a smoke-breathing gargoyle and a little girl at play on a swing marked “Cemetery.”
But the hearse is back and the protests all but forgotten, as hedge funders in greater numbers join the competition to outspook other one-tenth of 1 percenters — or else prove once and for all that Manhattan is the new suburbs.
On side streets throughout Manhattan’s most expensive ZIP codes, townhouses are bedecked from cornice to stoop with the gruesome trappings of a secularized (and wildly commercialized) modern version of an ancient Celtic harvest festival.
There are goblins, crones, witches, zombies, skeletons, ghouls, ghosts and bats and — for the last few years outside the East 74th Street house owned by Marc Lasry, a co-founder of Avenue Capital — bloodied life-size dummies hung from a balcony.
Currently poised by the chaste neo-Classical style door to one multimillion-dollar East 67th Street house just down the block from the Falcones stands an effigy of a spooky two-headed girl with an army of rats swarming at her feet. Feel free to choose your own metaphor.