Haunted Houses in New York City
The history of New York dates back to the 1500s when the European explorer, Giovanni da Verrazzono, sailed into what is today’s New York harbor. With a history that old, if only these walls and buildings could talk.
Many residents and workers inside New York City swear that the walls are talking back to them through a different medium – ghosts. In the tradition of Halloween, here is a Top-10 List of the most Famous Haunted Places in New York City.
Belasco Theater (111 West 44th Street): Belasco Theater is one of the oldest theaters in New York City. Guests of this theater swear they have seen the ghost of the building’s architect, David Belasco. Belasco lived in the apartment at the top of the theatre before he died in 1931. Actors in the theatre say the ghost of Belasco has even interacted with them, offering handshakes. Stories continue that actors have heard the elevator move even when it wasn’t connected. They’ve also heard footsteps when no one was inside the theater.
The Dakota (Central Park West at 72nd Street):The Dakota was built in 1880 and many famous people, including John Lennon, have died inside and outside the building since it was constructed. Beginning in the 1960s, several construction workers claimed they saw a ghost of a young man. Around the same time, other painters working at the building claimed they saw a girl dressed in Victorian type clothing roaming the hallways. One of the painters tried to talk to the little girl, thinking she was lost when – he says – she suddenly disappeared. And outside the Dakota residential building, security guards say they believe the undertaker’s gate is haunted, which is near the place where John Lennon was assassinated.
“The House of Death” (14 West 10th Street): Mark Twain lived in this brownstone in 1900 and residents say today he haunts the stairwell. But Twain is not the only alleged ghost sighting. A total of 22 people have died inside this building and residents believe their ghosts still possess the area. In 1987, a 6-year-old girl named Jessica Steinberg, was allegedly brutally beaten to death by her step-father. Following her death, residents say they started seeing the ghost of a little girl running throughout the floors.
Manhattan Bistro (129 Spring St): In December 1979, Elma Sands was murdered inside this restaurant and thrown down a well, which is now the restaurant’s basement. Patrons and waitresses say they have felt Elma’s cold presence. They have also seen ashtrays knocked off the tables, heard plates being broken on the floor, and watched bottles fly off the shelves.
Old Merchant’s House (29 East 4th Street): What was life like back in 1832? You can experience it today at the Old Merchant’s House on East 4th Street. Today, it is a museum with all of the original furnishings and possessions, dating back to the 19th Century. The Old Merchant’s House was originally built in 1832. Tourists and workers inside the museum say a young Gertrude Treadwell haunts her old bedroom and the kitchen at all hours of the day and night. Gertrude died in an upstairs bedroom in 1933 after the birth of her unwanted baby. Her family strongly disapproved of her decision to give birth, which workers believe caused her spirit to never leave the area.
One If By Land, Two If By Sea restaurant (17 Barrow Street): Aaron Burr was the Vice President of the United States but he is most famous for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel. This restaurant was once Burr’s home and restaurant employees swear his angry spirit still tries to communicate with the living. Visitors and restaurant employees have witnessed flying dishes and chairs pulled out from under guests. Theodosia Burr Alston, Burr’s daughter who vanished off the coast of North Carolina while trying to visit her father in New York is also known to haunt the restaurant. Female guests have said that Theodosia takes their earrings.
The Palace Theatre (1564 Broadway): Roughly 100 ghosts are said to haunt this theatre, including a white-gowned cellist playing in the pit. Theater workers say they have also seen a young girl looking down from the balcony, even when the theater was closed and no one was inside. The famous actress Judy Garland performed here during her heyday. In fact, a special rear orchestra exit was built for the high-maintenance actress who didn’t want to be bothered by the crowds. Workers say a ghost that roams the theater looks strikingly like Judy Garland. One ghost you do not want to see is one of an acrobat who died when he broke his neck after a brutal fall. Legend has it that he only appears to people who are close to dying.
St. Marks-in-the-Bowery Church (131. E 10th St.): In 1678, Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant was buried in a vault beneath the chapel. Today, workers at the chapel believe his spirit roams around the chapel and haunts the building.
St. Paul’s Chapel Burial Grounds (Broadway & Fulton Street): A headless ghost has been spotted here from different people of all ages. Could it be the spirit of George Frederick Cooke, who is a well-known English actor and died inside this Episcopal Church? In September of 1811, Cooke was buried headless after donating his head to science to pay for doctor’s bills. His skull was used in many productions of the play Hamlet.
White Horse Tavern (567 Hudson Street at West 11th Street): After consuming 18 shots of whiskey at this tavern, Dylan Thomas died in New York City in November of 1953. Bartenders say they have seen his ghost appear from time to time rotating around his favorite corner table.