Photo: Frank Franklin/AP
If you live in New York City and you're looking for a truly terrifying "haunted house" to wander through for Halloween this year, you're not going to have to go very far. You won't have to go far in terms of distance, I mean. All you'll have to do is take a little step back in time, because I promise you the most viscerally PTSD-inducing experience anywhere within New York City right now is New York City. The old New York City -- as it was in the late 70s and early 80s.
Props to off-broadway director Timothy Haskell, who came up with the inspired idea of turning an old warehouse on the Lower East Side into a Halloween attraction made to resemble the Warriors-esque dystopian hellscape era of gotham. According to AP, he's faithfully recreated such nightmares as subways covered in graffiti, giant rats, menacing punks and drug-addicted gangs that roam the littered streets and, of course, the Times Square Travis Bickle once wanted to see washed out by a "real rain." The whole thing begins with a blackout, which is immediately followed by flashes from the inevitable fires that would've burned back in the day. You're then stalked through the dark by the Son of Sam and a homeless guy soaked in his own urine and are every so often confronted by tunnel-dwelling mole people.
Make sure to keep an eye out for Lou Reed and Anthony Bourdain, who you'll find sitting on a curb in front of a mock-up of the old CBGB sharing a smoke and reminiscing about the good old days. And when it's all over, wander back out into post-gentrification New York City, past sixteen Starbucks and four Urban Outfitters on your way to the studio apartment you're paying $3,500 a month for -- and wonder to yourself what's really more terrifying.