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A Brief History: Located at 59 West 44th Street and Constructed in 1902 by architect Goldwin Starrett of the famed architectural firm Starrett & Van Vleck, The Algonquin Hotel situated in the heart of New York City’s theater district set the standard for elegance and sophistication during the Vaudeville era. The hotel would later become host to the Algonquin Round Table consisting of writers, publicists, actors, directors, critics and other assorted who’s who of the literature and entertainment world. At its core “The Vicious Circle” otherwise known as Franklin Pierce Adams, Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, Heywood Broun, Ruth Hale, Marc Connelly, George S. Kaufman, Robert E. Sherwood, Harold Ross, John Peter Toohey and Alexander Woollcott would meet almost daily from 1919 – 1929 to exchange ideas, politics and influence one another. As the Roaring Twenties gave way to the Great Depression the circle disbanded, but their legacy and some would say their presence have left an indelible mark on the hotel.
Haunted History: Guests have reportedly seen specters of former members in the hotel lobby and main dining room. Further stories revolve around a recent renovation of attic space on the 13th floor. On the night of completion there were claims of unusual noises coming from the attic culminating in a picture of Dorothy Parker falling from the wall and shattering at around 3am.
The Belasco Theatre is one of New York City’s oldest
theatre. In 1931 the theatre’s builder David Belasco died. He lived in
an apartment at the top floor of the theatre and it is said that he still
haunts this theatre till this day. There have been claims that the ghost
will interact with actors and give handshakes to some of them. Many people
have reported hearing footsteps in the theatre late at night after everyone
left the building. People have also claimed to hear the elevator running,
even though it has been disconnected for years. People have also claimed to
see a lady in blue, and they claim that she is possibly David Belasco’s girl
friend. There have been numerous reports of seeing her in the theatre.
Located at the Southern end of Staten Island the
now 226 acre park (originally 932 acres) was originally known as The Manor
of Bentley. In 1676 British Navy Captain Christopher Billop was given this
piece of land. By 1680 Capt. Billop had built the above shown 2-floor stone
house called The Conference House. Additions to the house continued through
During the American Revolution, Colonel
Christopher Billop (Capt. Billop's great-gandson) lived in the house. On
September 11, 1776 (2 months after the signing of the Declaration of
Independence) the Conference House was host to an attempted peace
negotiation between the American colonies and the British. Benjamin
Franklin, John Adams and Edward Rutledge met with British Lord Admiral
Richard Howe to try to negotiate a peace that would give the colonies
independence from England but keep strong relations (at the time the British
controlled all of New York City, Long Island and Staten Island). Although
Howe himself wanted a peace his orders would not allow for any agreement
that recognized the independence of the colonies. The Admiral made it very
clear the British had no intention of entertaining the idea of independent
colonies and that the revolution leaders would be severely punished after
the British crushed the revolution. Benjamin Franklin and company made a
hasty departure from the house after the first day of talks. The result was
the 7 year American Revolutionary War.
Colonel Billop himself was a very forceful and
unforgiving man, given to frequent fits of rage. During the war Colonel
Billop was frequently kidnapped and held for ransom by the colonists.
Colonel Billop became convinced someone in his house was informing the
revolution of when he was in the house. Legend has it that one evening
Colonel Billop saw a servent girl place a lamp in an upper floor window.
Colonel Billop took this to be a signal to the revolution that he was home
and proceed to accuse the girl of being a spy. He chased her through the
upper floor to the downward stairs. It is not clear whether the Colonel
pushed the girl down the stairs trying to kill her or she fell to her death
trying to get away from Billop.
It is said her ghost and the ghost of British
Redcoats who died in the house during the war still haunt the building
today. Although the building is said to be very active the Conference House
Association that manages the site refuses to allow paranormal investigations
of the facility.
A Brief History: Located at 279 Water Street in Manhattan, The Bridge Café was built in 1794 and hails itself as “The Oldest Drinking Establishment in New York,” according to its official website. The building was not always The Bridge Café, the property was at one time or another a Hungarian restaurant, seafood restaurant, a packing store, a pirate bar, and even a brothel. The bar was even immortalized in the film Gangs of New York in the scenes that took place in a wild drinking establishment where pickling jars filled with body parts lined the shelves. This was homage to one of the café’s former incarnations where a 6-foot English woman named Gallus Mag would escort rowdy patrons out of her bar with their ears between her teeth. Those offenders who were unfortunate enough to incur the full brunt of her wrath found their severed ears in pickling jars for posterity.
Haunted History: Ms. Gallus Mag still reportedly haunts the building today. In addition to the former barhop frequenting from beyond the grave, other claims of paranormal persisting from The Bridge Café include the feeling of being watched, smelling phantom scents of perfume or lavender, hearing footsteps on the floors above you when no one is there, and seeing shadows move across the room.
Henrietta Chumley is the former bar
mistress, and owner of Chumley’s.
The people of the West Village claim that
Henrietta comes into the bar, sits down and orders a drink called the
Manhattan. They also claim that she plays around with the restaurants
jukebox to get peoples attention.
A Brief History: Formerly known as the James Brown House, the Federal styled, two and a half story building on 326 Spring Street became one of the earliest designated historical landmarks by the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1969. Built sometime at the turn of the 18th century, James Brown an African-American and Revolutionary War Veteran bought the building in 1817 and turned it into a lucrative tobacco shop. It has been rumored that Brown was one of the Revolutionary soldiers depicted in Emanuel Leutze’s iconic “Washington Crossing the Delaware” painting. After Brown’s death and due to the store’s close location to the waterfront, at the time (before urban development) it stood only feet away from the Hudson River it became a tavern servicing local sailors in the area. In 1890, Thomas Cook took proprietorship installing a brewery. When Prohibition was passed in 1919, the tavern was converted into a speakeasy known as The Green Door with its proud motto “Known Coast to Coast”. The upstairs floors were converted into a boarding house and sometimes brothel. Sailors would frequent the establishment for a warm place to rest their head, some hearty beer to fill their bellies and a friendly smile to brighten their spirits. When Prohibition ended, the Green Door re-opened and stayed the local watering-hole until 1977. At this time it was purchased by a group of artists who in keeping with the restrictions on historic landmarks, altered the name from ‘bar’ to ‘ear’ after their magazine, EAR, produced upstairs thus giving its current name the Ear Inn.
Haunted History: Visitors to the bar say they have seen ghosts that are said to date back to the boarding house days. One ghost in particular that seems to make a reoccurring appearance is that of Mickey, a sailor staying at the boarding house waiting for his ship to come in and who met a tragic end when he was struck by a car outside the Ear Inn. According to owner Martin Sheridan, Mickey is a bit of a beverage burglar stealing patron’s drinks and amusing himself as they accuse friends and fellow bar goers in search of their missing drinks. He also has a fondness for the female staff and clientele, playfully goosing them.
Brief History: The Empire State building was built in 1931 and was the world's tallest building until 1972 when the World Trade Center was built. Designed in the style of Art Deco the Empire State building stands at 102 Stories. Opening during the great depression many of the office spaces that it held was left empty and it was not near the port authority, Grand Central or Penn Station leaving it in a less than desirable area. The Building was not considered to be profitable until 1950 and was then sold in 1951 to Roger Stevens for $51 Million. In 1945 a B-25 bomber crashed into the building killing 14 people. In 1986 the structure was established as a national landmark, and in September 11, 2001 when the world trade Center was destroyed, the Empire State building again became the tallest building in New York.
Haunted History: Over the course of the history of
this building it is documented that there were 14 suicides that were attempted from the observation deck from as early as the construction of the building. The first suicide was when an employee was laid off while working on the Building and jumped. In 1947 the Observatory Terrace got a fence put in when 5 people committed suicide during a three-week span. One story that is told is of a woman that stands on the observatory deck that is dressed in cloths from the 1940's, A person who claimed to see this said the spirit said she lost her husband during the war (WWII) and jumped off the building. Spirits from the suicides are said to haunt the Observation deck and have been seen jumping from the building.
Brief History: Grand Central Terminal is located at 42nd St. and Park
Avenue in Manhattan New York. It originally opened in 1871 as the Grand
Central Depot by Cornellius Vanderbilt. A tragic train collision, which
killed 17 people and injured 38 occurred January 8, 1902. At this time,
steam locomotives were becoming obsolete and the public was demanding
electric train service. A new terminal was opened on February 2, 1913, and
many new skyscrapers were built over the old tracks. It thrived as the
busiest rail terminal in the country and at times, housed art galleries, a
newsreel theater, and a museum. By the late 1960's rail travel had declined
and the real estate market in the area was booming. The building was nearly
demolished, but was saved by a landmark law passed on August 2, 1967.
In 1994, it was purchased by the MTA and a huge restoration project brought
back the original 1913 appearance of the terminal. It now includes many
shops, restaurants, and ever-changing exhibits. A new tunneling project
expected to be completed in 2016 will link the Long Island Rail Road to
Grand Central relieving some of the congestion into Penn Station.
Haunted History: On the dining concourse is the Whispering Gallery. The low arches of the entryway cause an acoustic phenomenon that makes a whisper sound like a shout on the other end of the archway. Also far beneath the terminal is a labyrinth of secret tunnels, steam pipes, and storage areas. Somewhere there is an old train platform with a secret staircase that led directly to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. It is said that FDR used these stairs to avoid the press while getting from his train to his room. Occasional fires and steam leaks in the tunnels have some believing Grand Central is cursed, but it remains a mystery.
Elma Sands, a young woman, was murdered in December 1799
in this SoHo building. Her body was dropped in a well, which is now the
basement of the restaurant. There was strong evidence that claimed Levi
Weeks murdered Elma Sands, but he was never convicted.
People claim to have
seen ashtrays knocked off tables, plates being broken on the floor, and even
bottles flying off shelves. They say it’s the spirit of Elma Sands.
A brief History: Located on 214 West 42nd Street. The New Amsterdam Theatre was built by Klaw and Erlanger in 1903. When the theatre was built, it could seat 1,800 guests,
making it the largest theatre of its time.
The first play the New Amsterdam theatre held was
A Midsummer Nights Dream by William Shakespeare in November of 1903. In the 1980s the theatre was shut down do to problems with the main supporting beam. In 1993 the Walt Disney Corporation agreed to restore the theatre costing $34 million dollars for the restoration project. The project took 4 years to complete and reopened in 1997.
Today the theater remains open and still holds some of the world’s greatest plays.
Haunted History: The ghost of a Ziegfeld
Follies chorus girl named Olive Thomas killed herself by overdosing on
syphilis medication from her alcoholic husband is said to still haunt the
theater. Her ghost had been seen in one of the dressing rooms and on stage,
wearing her green beaded Follies dress, a sash, and a beaded headpiece. She
has also been spotted carrying around a blue glass bottle, which is said to
contain the syphilis pills that killed her. Usually her ghost has been
spotted after the audiences have left, however when the theatre places
objects, and plays music from her time, she usually makes her presence
A Brief History: Located in midtown Manhattan at 209 West 42nd St, The New Victory Theatre is the oldest surviving theatre since its original construction in 1899-1900. After being built though the work of Oscar Hammerstein I, the building has been owned by only a handful of owners and changed names multiple times. Prior to its current incarnation as a children’s performing arts theater, the New Victory Theater had a seedy history after it operated as a movie house, pornography joint, and burlesque house at different times. Notably, the location is where Broadway’s first striptease and movie houses were operated. Famous owners, actors and employees included Oscar Hammerstein, Bill Minksy, Lionel Barrymore, and Rose Lee.
Haunted History: People have reported seeing a girl in a white gown on the balcony appear and disappear in the blink of an eye.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the oldest Catholic Church in New York City. There are supposedly two ghosts that haunt the cemetery that is connected to
Pierre Toussaint is said to haunt this area. In the 19th
century he was a slave that became a hair dresser. The ghost of Bishop
Dubois is also said to haunt the cemetery. He is buried right at the front
entrance of the cathedral.
There have been reports of seeing the ghost of
Bishop Dubois inside of the church.
History: Located in midtown Manhattan at 1564 Broadway, The Palace Theater first opened its doors on March 24th, 1913. Considered to be the world's most famous and premier performance theatre from its opening until the 1930's, to "Play the Palace" was a popular phrase created by entertainers that represented The Palace Theater's immense importance and popularity. Currently used as a performance theatre like its original incarnation, the venue has seen many transformations and been used in different fashions; e.g. movie house, vaudeville shows and musical concert. Many famous people have performed at The Palace Theatre like Sandra Bernhardt, Harry Houdini, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Buddy Hackett, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Better Midler, Shirley MacLaine, Diana Ross and Harry Belafonte.
Haunted History: The Palace Theater has a unique haunted history and more than 100 different ghosts seen by former patrons, performers and ex-employees. Various paranormal activity has been reported in multiple locations: a ghost of a little girl near on the balcony, a cellist ghost with a white-gown in the orchestra pit, an apparition of a little boy near the mezzanine, and even the ghost of Judy Garland near a private door used by the performer. Also, piano keys are heard and seen playing without someone there and the smell of burning cigarettes at the spot where a former manager purportedly committed suicide. Legend also has it that there is an "omen" ghost here. The omen ghost is one of an acrobat that used to perform at the Palace Theater. The legend states that the acrobat broke his neck while performing and died instantly. If you are in the Palace Theater and you see the ghost of the acrobat then you will soon come to your death.
History: Radio City Music Hall is located 1260 6th Avenue in Manhattan, NY on the corner of 6th Avenue and 50th Street. It was developed by John D. Rockefeller JR, in 1929, after the stock market crashed. John D Rockefeller JR, developed The Radio City Music Hall, along with Rockefeller Center on land leased by Columbia University. Also involved in developing the Radio City Music Hall were Samuel Roxy Rothafel and RCA Chairman, David Sarnoff. The Radio City Music hall was designed by architect, Edward Durell Stone and interior Designer, Donald Deskey. The theater's stage was designed and built by Peter Clark in 1932. John D Rockefeller, JR originally planned to make a new metropolitan opera house but his plans changed after the stock market crashed. He decided to make it a "palace for the people", a theater where the general population could afford to go to.
The Radio City Music Hall obtained its name from their original tenants, The Radio Corporation of America. The Radio City Music Hall had its opening debut on December 27th, 1932 featuring high class variety shows which were not a success due to their programs being very lengthy.
In 1933, The Radio City Music Hall began showing movies, which included a stage show. On January 11th, 1933, Frank Capra's "The Bitter Tea General Yen" was the first movie stage show to open at Radio City Music Hall. This combination of movies and stage shows went on up until 1979. In 1978, The Radio City Music Hall was declared a NYC landmark. In 1979, the Radio City Music Hall ceased showing movies regularly since Radio City Music Hall showed mainly G movies, which became less common. In 1979 Radio City Music Hall was closed for six months for renovations and reopened in 1980. In 1933, The Radio City Music Hall began a holiday tradition with the Rockettes and The Christmas Spectacular, which continues to run today for eight weeks during the holiday season. In 1994, the
Christmas Spectacular and the Rockettes began traveling to various US cities to put on the show.
Famous people that have been seen at Radio Music Hall include Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Linda Ronstadt, Bill Cosby, Jimmy Stewart, Sammy Davis, Jr., Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Tony Bennett, Billy Crystal, Barry Manilow, Liza Minnelli, Sting, 98 degrees.
Haunted History: The ghost of Samuel Roxy Rothafel has been seen on opening nights accompanied by a glamorous female companion.
A Brief History: Located in the West Village on 17 Barrow Street, One If By Land, Two If By Sea is known for its grand décor, romantic atmosphere, famous beef Wellington and intriguing history. Built in 1767 as a carriage house it was later purchased by promising politician Aaron Burr in 1794, who would later become the Country’s third Vice President. Burr left New York abruptly in 1804 to evade murder charges brought against him after his duel with Alexander Hamilton. Following Burr’s departure the carriage house exchanged hands several times; it was rumored to have become a pub and bordello during the 1830’s. It finally became the restaurant we know today in 1910 when it was bought and renovated. It has been widely speculated that the restaurant took its name from a line in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Paul Revere’s Ride”.
Haunted History: With such an illustrious history there have been many stories about haunting activities in the carriage house turned restaurant. Patrons have witnessed dishes moving on their own and chairs being pulled from under them. Stories that the ghost of Burr’s daughter Theodosia Burr Alston, who vanished off the coast of the Carolina’s in a shipwreck en route to visit her father, have said she is known for removing the earrings of female patrons.
George Frederick Cook an English actor who died in
September 1811, is buried at the Episcopal Church’s Cemetery. After
donating his head to science to pay for doctor bills, George Frederick Cook
has been buried headless. It is said that in the productions of Hamlet, his
skull was used as a prop in the movie. People say that when walking past
the cemetery at night they see a headless man walking around.
Since its closing in the late 1960's and again in
the mid-1980's, the St. Augustine Monastery on Staten Island, NY as it was
originally named, has become a hot topic of interest for both paranormal
investigators and urban exploration.
The monastery was once used as a school house
before being converted into a spiritual retreat in its later decades.
Activity reported from those who have entered the abandoned building range
from hearing moaning echoes and loud noises as well as extreme temperature
drops, all closely associated with the paranormal.
The urban legends which have come to surround this
decaying landmark remain closely related and share similar aspects in their
telling. Agreed upon by most of the monastery enthusiasts is the fact that
the structure, though only rising a few stories from the ground, in fact
continues for many levels beneath the surface where horrible atrocities were
believed to have taken place. Some say that there was a great fire back when
the building served as a school house, trapping a number of children
underground in the lower levels,. However there is no sign of fire damage
nor city record of such an event.
Additionally, it is said that in the time where
the monastery was used for spiritual recluse, there was a monk who was
driven insane and would drag his fellow spiritualists down into the basement
to torture them and eventually murdered them. The exact number of
underground levels is not known for certain, though it has been rumored to
descend for 20 or so sublevels.
First hand accounts of the structure in its modern
standing state that the main basement level is flooded, leaving no
possibility for further exploration.
Trinity Church Burial Ground is one of the oldest in
New York City. People have reported hearing laughter near one of the
tombstones in the cemetery late at night. No one is sure which tombstone
the laughter actually comes from.
A Brief History: Few cemeteries in Manhattan hold the same prominence as the historic Trinity Church Cemetery located on 74 Trinity Place, a mere stone’s throw away from Wall Street. Constructed alongside Trinity Church in 1697 it’s broken and faded smooth tombstones are not simply a part of New York’s history but an integral piece in the story of our nation. On its grounds rest a myriad of Revolutionary War heroes and a few of our Founding Fathers, most famously Alexander Hamilton (who if you forgot your history you can find on a $10 bill).
Haunted History: The cemetery is a favorite stop on NYC and downtown haunted tours. There has been no concrete evidence to prove whether Trinity Church Cemetery is in fact haunted but many people have reported seeing shadowy figures and eerie specters at night. These activities seems to increase in frequency around the time of Burr-Hamilton duel leading many to speculate that the ghosts of Alexander Hamilton and/or Aaron Burr may still be disputing or perhaps searching for resolution long after their deaths.
West 4th Street and MacDougal
A Brief History: Washington Square Park was named after our first President George Washington, who was the Commander in Chief, of the Continental Army, during the Revolutionary War 1776 – 1781. In 1789 George Washington was inaugurated as President of the United States in New York City.
In the 1700s the park was actually a marshland, which was located by the Indian Village Sapokinkan, which means “tobacco field”. The Indians turned the marshland into farmland and used the land to live off of. The city purchased the land in 1797, and turned it into a potter’s field, which was mainly for poor people who couldn’t afford a proper tombstone. The potter’s field was also used for people that had past away from yellow fever. There are over 20,000 people buried at this very site. The potter’s field was also used as an execution spot were they had gallows there for public executions. In 1827 the land was finally turned into a park. Samuel F.B. Morse showed the first public demonstration of the telegraph here in 1835. In 1890 the marble arch was built by Stanford White.
Today the park is now used by many people who play different table games such as chess, bocce ball, and many types of people enjoy the park on a daily basis such as local residents, students, chess players, tourists, and usually everyday you may catch a street performance by many different individuals.
Haunted History: There have been many claims of people feeling a cold breeze go right through them on a hot summer day. There have also been claims of seeing people in period clothing and just disappear. Some people also claim to hear sounds of gasping for air while sitting in the park late at night.
This building was constructed in the 19th
century. People claim that there have been 22 deaths in this house and all
22 spirits haunt this house. Mark twain also stayed in this house from
1900-1901 and it is said that he haunts the stairwell of this house. In more
recent times, in
1987 Jessica Steinberg died in this house by getting beaten to death by her
adopted father Joel Steinberg, who was later convicted for murder. It's
infamous history has earned it the name "The House of Death".
A Brief History: The White Horse Tavern is located at 567 Hudson Street at West 11th Street. The Tavern was built in 1880. Since 1950 the White Horse Tavern has been known for New York’s poets to go and hang out there. One of the known poets that hung out at the tavern was Dylan Thomas.
Thomas was known to go to the tavern quite often. In 1953 he decided to try and beat his record of 18 shots of whiskey. When he finished with his shots of whiskey, he stumbled outside and collapsed on the sidewalk. Soon after that he was taken to the Chelsea Hotel, were he slipped into a coma. The next morning he was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital, where he passed away.
Haunted History: It is said that there have
been many encounters with the ghost of Dylan Thomas. People claim that they
have seen him sitting at his favorite corner table, and then just disappear.
There have also been reports of seeing Dylan Thomas outside the White Horse
Tavern walking around.
A brief History: The Wollman Rink is located in the Southern part of Central park. It was built in 1949 with funds donated by Kate Wollman. The ice skating rink is open to the public from October to April. During the spring and summer there were many venues hosted on the rink platform such as many different types music festivals. In 1980 the rink was no longer used for music festivals. At this present time when not in use for ice skating the rink is used for the Victorian Gardens Amusement Park. Today the rink is operated by the Trump Organization and Rink Management Services. The rink is known today as the Trump Wollman Rink.
Haunted History: It is said that if you are walking passed the rink at night sometimes you will see two young girls skating figure 8's on the rink and just suddenly disappear. There have been many reports of people seeing this activity.
A brief History: The Ye Waverly Inn is located at 16 Bank Street and Waverly Place. The Inn was built in 1844, and purchased by two Israeli restaurant owners named Hanna and Sarid Drory. Since 1844 there have been some modern changes to the Inn, such as air conditioning, heating, and numerous new owners of the Inn. Today the Inn is known as the Ye Waverly Inn & Garden. The Inn is still open to the public for good dining and good times.
Haunted History: In the 1920s the New York Times published an article about the ghosts of Ye Waverly Inn setting fires inside the restaurant. Today employees and guests claim to see shadowy figures walking around inside and outside of the Inn.
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