Saturday night, a hundred illuminated puppets manned by over five hundred people marched through Morningside Park, marking the first ever Morningside Lights Parade. Startled passers-by stopped and gawked at the spectacle, which included trumpeteers, a unicyclist, and glowing eight-foot paper-mache creatures. Over the course of the prior week, local residents built the sculptures in workshops, led by Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles, the designers of the New York City Halloween Parade’s puppets. Columbia University's Miller Theatre and Arts Initiative, the event sponsor, is considering making it an annual event, with the goal of connecting the campus and community through cooperative art.
Columbia has been planning the event for the last year and marketing to the community through local organizations like friends of Morningside Park. They attracted a range of participants, from senior citizens and families, to students and local artists. The theme was “Imagined City,” and people used bamboo and tissue paper to create structures from their ideal urban space. Jellyfish automobiles sprung up alongside beehive huts, towering tree houses, and more abstract pieces.
The non-narrated video above follows the creation of the largest puppet in the parade – the burning clock tower.