Following Hurricane Sandy and the surprise nor’easter Athena, many people in New York and New Jersey had to live in almost zombie apocalyptic surroundings, with no electricity and heat, using flashlights and candles for light and storing nonperishable food.
Adding to the end-of-the-world hype is the approach of the purported doomsday date at the end of the Mayan calendar, Dec. 21.
Chante Tenoso, the Queens Thanksgiving Zombie Walk 2012 coordinator who also runs the blog Zombies Can’t Love, sees the fascination with these walking undead as a more relaxed way of dealing with serious real-world problems.
“Hurricane Sandy put people in a post-apocalyptic sense. There’s no electricity, your house might be gone, your entire family is on the street, no gas. The zombie thing becomes more popular because it’s a way of externalizing your problems in a way that’s more fun and fantasy versus the reality of it,” Tenoso said, adding:
“We’re naturally drawn to the end.”
And with the ideas of escapism, fun and zombie-fever in mind, Astoria residents shouldn’t be alarmed when they peek out their windows Saturday and notice a strange crowd shambling on the sidewalks. They might be missing limbs, will look sickly and show a hunger for brains. If you thought zombies, you would be correct.
Western Queens second annual zombie stroll will start at noon on Saturday at Studio Square in Long Island City, with the undead lumbering their way through the busy section of Steinway Street and wrapping it up at Rapture Lounge — of course! — on 28th Avenue in Astoria.
The walk is open to all ages, with free makeup being provided at the starting point. Even better, admission is free at Rapture’s after-party for those 21 and over.
There will also be a raffle with donations going to the Red Cross to help Hurricane Sandy victims.
With zombies being used in droves as villains in comics, video games, television and movies, Tenoso doesn’t see the popularity of the walking dead dying anytime soon.
“I don’t see it waning,” she said. “Anyone can become a zombie. Zombies don’t care what you have in the bank or what you look like or what religion you are. Anyone can become one. I don’t think they will ever go away as a go-to type of monster. What’s more terrifying than other human beings?”
Last year drew 300 to 400 undead, and “this year’s walk looks to be even bigger,” said Thomas Art, who is again helping out with the event and runs the website Zombies Worldwide, a social media site for zombie enthusiasts.
When the idea came up for a zombie walk in Astoria, Art recalled his friend Tenoso, the festival coordinator, said she would like to have one in November. Art then made the appetizing — or unappetizing, depending if you like human flesh or not — connection between zombies and humans on Thanksgiving.
“Zombies eat. What do people do? They eat for Thanksgiving,” he said. “We should all be thankful to have a human to eat.”
What separates this walk from others, Art said, is that most others charge for makeup and also have a cover charge for the after-party.
“We’re trying to be as free as possible,” he said.
While the residents of Queens don’t have to worry about an impeding zombie crisis — yet — Tenoso does have a few tips for them in case they want to prepare:
Know an escape route; store plenty of nonperishable food; have lots of batteries; wear lightweight, warm weather- proof clothing; and keep in contact with family and friends.
It’s advice that might come in handy even in a more realistic crisis.
When: Saturday, Nov. 17 at noon
Where: Studio Square, 35-33 36 St., Long Island City