Don't be scared, look closer


All Hallow’s Eve approaches, with its jack-o-lanterns, imaginative costumes and inevitable sugar highs.

We sit on the doorstep of Westchester County, home to one of Halloween’s most-enduring stories from Washington Irving involving a Connecticut schoolmaster named Ichabod Crane and his disappearance at the hands of a spectre simply known as the Headless Horseman.

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” continues to scare both children and adults alike to this day, despite the story approaching its bicentennial birthday. Yet we don’t need the musings of a dead Hessian soldier to keep us up at night. There’s plenty happening right here, with enough frights to take us beyond this holiday and well into the next.

This year is not quite over, although Halloween typically marks that first realization that this trip around the sun is about to conclude. And that gives us a chance to reflect on some of the issues that have plagued us or intrigued us — depending on your perspective — with the hopes that if we haven’t found a resolution already, one is just around the corner.

A topic that remains just as divisive today as it was last summer centers around homelessness, and which neighborhood is getting burdened the most.

This past week, 5731 Broadway started preparing for the arrival of its first families as part of a new transitional facility designed to not only put a roof over people’s heads, but help them regain their independence. 

Local officials want a permanent home, while some Kingsbridge residents would like to see their neighbors “up the hill” do more, like welcome a shelter of their own. These are important topics that should be discussed, but only as long as we remember that we all can agree on one very important thing — we want to get homeless people off the streets.

And speaking of streets, what are we ever going to do with Broadway? Once again, we all have a common point of agreement — something must be done to make it more pedestrian friendly, especially the stretch that runs along Van Cortlandt Park. 

But how do we do it? The city’s transportation department has one idea, but you’d have to look long and hard to find someone who supports it.

It’s hard to find an Opinion page these days without some mention of the Independent Democratic Conference, the breakaway party led by state Sen. Jeffrey Klein that has earned renewed scorn since Donald Trump has taken office.

A lot separates Klein and opponents of the IDC, which helps keep Republicans in power in the upper chamber. Yet once again there is common ground — making life better for all of us, and our neighbors. 

All of these issues require work, but also recognition that not everything is as it seems on the surface. 

Even Irving’s classic requires you to look closer — Crane’s true nemesis wasn’t a supernatural being after all, but instead Abraham “Brom Bones” Van Brunt, who in the end won the hand of Miss Baltus Van Tassel.