By Tammy Scileppi
A Halloween experience like no other is coming to Long Island City this weekend. Think of it as a surreal, sometimes scary, sensuous adventure of endless possibility, filled with unexpected surprises and exotic entertainment.
You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported into an alternate reality, ruled by supernatural elements. And after you and other partygoers let loose in the rapture of dance, you can feast on a banquet of decadent delights.
When you enter this City of Gods, you’ll find yourself in a maze of temples and altars, shrines and sanctuaries for your play and pleasure.
Few are aware of Halloween’s ancient Celtic roots in the Samhain (Samain) festival. In Celtic Ireland, about 2,000 years ago, Samhain took place between the lighter half — summer — and the darker half — winter — when the gap between this world and the “Otherworld” was at its gauziest, allowing spirits to pass through.
To ward off toxic spirits, folks wore costumes and masks to disguise themselves as bad spirits to avoid harm. Bonfires and food played a large part in the festivities.
If you were an ancient Celt, you would’ve believed in that “Otherworld,” in which many gods and goddesses dwelled. It was thought to be a place of joy, where feasts were always happening. This Otherworld wasn’t a heaven, nor was it a reward for doing something good on earth. The Celts believed that everyone entered this realm when they died.
You, the living — perhaps dressed as the undead in honor of modern-day Halloween — can experience what the City of Gods’ “Otherworld” looked like, during this spectacular, first-ever event of its kind in New York.
You will discover mysteries around every corner at The Paper Factory Hotel, located at 37-06 26th St. in Long Island City, where the 24-hour extravaganza — beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday and running through 9 p.m. Sunday — will be held.
Designed as a home away from home for artists and musicians alike, the modern-industrial boutique hotel has teamed up with House of Yes and ZERO to develop the concept.
“This collaboration came about through my passion and dedication to the artist and music communities. This is not a new concept but the biggest one yet and the next big event will be the New Year’s Eve celebration,” said Gal Sela, the hotel’s owner.
Described as “a grand convergence of pantheistic power, a gathering of grotesque opulence and eternal extravagance,” City of Gods will feature multiple indoor and outdoor stages spread throughout the hotel’s many floors, and organizers welcome you to celebrate all deities, demigods and demons, gods and goddesses, creatures of creation and those devoted to hedonism beyond the human realm.
Brooklyn promoters ZERO organize large-scale themed events with high production values and spacious venues.
Dedicated to entertainment and experience design, House of Yes specializes in interactive theatrics, aerial circus spectacles, innovative nightlife and exemplary service. Their in-house creative team has years of experience bringing concepts to completion multiple times a week, producing unique evenings with a fusion of themes, food, design, music, performance and audience interaction.
Though organizers are not revealing performers’ names, they’re promising a musical and artistic line-up of acts by over 40 international artists, all weekend long.
As you explore the city’s spaces, you and other partygoers will be entertained by aerialists, a “chamber of blood,” seductive shrines, altars, as well as staged sacrifices, offerings and ritual performances.
And when you first enter, you’ll hear a haunting mystery intro by a mystery artist.
With immersive experiences, local artists on display, a menu prepared by the hotel’s famed Lilly Valley restaurant, offering sumptuous spooky-licious morsels, this will surely be a Halloween to remember.
But you can’t be part of that strange dimension unless you morph into something weird, fabulous, and/or funky. Costumes are required for entry.
City of Gods will be open on Sunday, all day, for sunrise chasers and daytime revelers.
On Sunday, organizers are offering you playa vibes and music from their favorite camps, all day long. Enjoy yoga, sound healing, fresh fruit, and more. Brunch will be available for purchase.
To the ancient Celt, the world was a magical, unpredictable place, presided over by supernatural elements and unseen forces. And the gods and goddesses of pre-Christian Celtic peoples were a big part of nature, holiday rituals, and everyday life.
While the ancient Celts never knew when they might be in the presence of a deity or nature spirit, they approached tasks with a reverence and ritual born of the need to pacify local gods, and to avoid being captured by faeries. Halloween revelers entering the City of Gods, may find that resident deities are usually quite friendly, and getting captured by mystical beings could be lots of fun.
While Saturday tickets are already sold out, you can still get tickets for Sunday for $50. If you have a Saturday ticket, it is valid through Sunday as well, as that’s a 24-hour ticket.
Service packages and room reservations at The Paper Factory Hotel are available upon request. Please inquire at cityo