Monday, October 26


Sunday dawned gloriously sunny, the perfect raindate antidote to the wash out Saturday of the 19th Annual Tompkins Square Park Halloween dog costume contest. Only problem: it was also the day of the annual contest in Carl Schurz Park up here on the Upper East Side.

But for my friend, Lynne and her Brussels Griffon Gidget, there was no contest (so to speak.) And so to the East Village we went. Gidget in full mermaid get up and Macaroon in sombrero and taco suit. Barely into the park we were attracting many admirers with cameras. Maybe the taco would do well after all! I thought. Something none of my previous five years of competing in Carl Schurz ever did.

Entered in the 4th and last (and largest) group of competitors, Lynne and I were free to wander around the dog run to gawk at the cleverness of our fellow New Yorkers who clearly have a lot of time on their hands (and love of dressing up their dogs.) The people enjoying the outfits far more than the dogs (except the pugs.)

Macaroon caught a lot of eyes and soon there will be photos of him as a taco all over the net. People seemed impressed that I made his costume, which was Lynne’s idea. And she helped me with the basic jacket and some material to stiffen the taco shell sides, as well as some material that glistened and was perfect for the bits of onion. For green salsa, a piece of the glitzy fabric she used in Gidget’s mermaid tail. Plus another one in red. A wonderful reddish brown fabric I found would be the all important picadillo meat. A serving of guacamole from a pale green cotton and fabricated tomato bits out of red cotton cut into tiny pieces and wrapped around fiberfill. Some I adorned with pale fabric and yellow seed beads to make them more tomato-like. Very labor-intensive.

Through this process I wasn’t very sanguine. It didn’t look all that good, I thought and called Lynne to whine. She assured me that when she began making Gidget’s mermaid she felt the same way. And it had turned out so gorgeously. So I just continued. I had all the makings of the taco, including lots of tomatoes, green and red salsa, onions, dried beans, cheese shreds (yellow rick rack) and lettuce (strips of two colors of green cotton.) And I wanted the reassurance of Lynne’s advice as I glued the pieces together. But she was unavailable, so I just plunged ahead. It came out pretty well, I thought until, on my way to Lynne’s, I showed it to a neighbor. “What is it?” she said. Not encouraging. But Lynne liked it. And luckily, she had something to add: a tiny sombrero she happily lent us. That made Macaroon look like the Taco Bell Chihuahua, making me feel much more optimistic.

Our group was huge and featured so many great costumes: Hugh Hefner & a Playboy bunny on a bed! A Serta counting sheep. A Chia pet Schnauzer. Lynne and I assessed the competition: tough!

Still, our turn, we started down the “runway” to meet the judges, all women, who were pointing at the taco and laughing. Macaroon worked them good. He stopped at the first judge, stood on his hind legs and offered his total devotion as he so often does. He has the ability to make the recipients believe they are special. If you’re human, he loves you. So the judges clucked over how cute he is, asking if I made the costume.

Still, when the prizes were about to be announced, I was stunned to hear that first prize went to…The Taco!! Lynne also won! And by some remarkable coincidence we had scored the same prize: a dog bed from an East Village dog boutique. Plus we got two bottles of expensive dog shampoo!

“The shop’s on Avenue B,” said Lynne. “Let’s go get our prizes now.” So we removed the dogs’ costumes and started out of the park. No one was paying any attention to us now. We were just two women with dogs.

The dog beds we had won were lovely but huge, too big for our small dogs and miniature apartments. “Ah…” I said, “I hope I’m not being rude but because of the size of the bed, I’d really rather have one of these beautiful leashes.” No problem! And that’s how Lynne and I won some great new leashes. Now I have two and Lynne has her 49th.

I doubt we were missed in Carl Schurz although I would have enjoyed going to both events had the weather cooperated. Lynne’s convinced that Carl Schurz is fixed. Her costumes are amazing and despite multiple wins downtown, she, like me, has never won there.

Some of her fabulous costumes can be seen modeled by Gidget in INDOGNITO by Karen Ngo—Elton John, the majorette and the flamenco dancer. One of my losing efforts made it into that book, too. The Yorkie in the butterfly, sweet little Dudley. His companion, Macaroon, as the caterpillar, didn’t make the cut. And ironically, the caption for Dudley: “The caterpillar does all the work. The butterfly gets all the publicity.” ~ George Carlin. How true.

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