as if the morning commute wasn't odd enough, intrepid new yorkers trying to make their way to work on tuesday had to battle past hordes of the walking dead.
two dozen zombies, their clothes spattered with fake blood, were staggering up and down the block outside madison square garden. downtown, others shuffled across the brooklyn bridge.
some pedestrians looked startled or amused by the ghost-white actors with bruised-looking eyes. some people ignored them entirely. others whipped out their cell phone cameras.
horror movie fan linda emery was thrilled to see the creatures.
"i'm into zombies, anything with zombies," said the 58-year-old home care provider from brooklyn. it made a change from her usual commute.
"you see a lot of stuff, but not this stuff," she said.
erik machado, an audio engineer heading to work in new jersey, was unfazed and passed by the scene with nary a glance at the nightmares walking around.
"gotta commute, gotta go where i gotta go," the queens resident said.
the stunt was part of a campaign in 26 cities worldwide promoting the halloween premiere of the amc television series "the walking dead." the show is being broadcast outside of the united states on fox international channels.
at one point, about 15 zombies crawled on the roof, hood and trunk of a parked, off-duty taxi.
taxi driver david pollack managed to escape from the horde, scrambling out of the back seat, playing along with the drama of it all.
"i think i'm going to be walking over the george washington bridge and heading over to jersey, hopefully they haven't gotten there yet," he said.
he added, "i'm a tough new yorker, but i don't mess with zombies."
Halloween is a bad time of year for black cats, with their long-standing connections with witches, hubble-bubble and evil.
Reports of deliberate cruelty to black cats rise especially in the weeks around Halloween in Britain, the RSPCA animal charity said on Wednesday.
But it seems that not only do people treat black cats badly in October -- they shun them for the rest of the year too.
Black cats at animal shelters take longer than others to find homes, probably because of all the superstitions surrounding them, the charity said.
"Unfortunately, black cats often do spend longer in our rehoming centres than others as they are frequently overlooked by potential owners," said shelter manager Beverly Leavy.
"But their fur color makes no difference to how much love they have to give," she added. "The cats are ready to make wonderful pets."
The image problem varies from country to country and often involves black cats crossing people's paths.
Historians differ about the origins of the superstitions.
Some point to the ancient Celts, some to folklore tales that liken cats to snakes and cast them as the constant companions of witches, others to a Medieval belief that they caused the black plague in Europe.
The view that they bring bad luck has also woven its way into art and popular culture.
American writer of macabre tales, Edgar Alan Poe, published a short story "The Black Cat" in 1843 and in the late 19th century a shady cabaret called Le Chat Noir welcomed guests in the Bohemian Montmartre district of Paris.
The RSPCA is appealing for potential owners to come forward for the black cats in its shelters.