#TBT: NYC’s Most Haunted Haunts

Written By Serena Horrigan | October 29, 2015 | Published in Elegran Insider
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With all the history New York City has seen, it’s no surprise that there’ve been some major ghost stories surrounding some of the city’s most famous buildings and establishments. We’ve rounded up six of NYC’s most historically haunted haunts.

One If By Land, Two If By Sea: Known as the most romantic restaurant in NYC, the West Village’s One If By Land at 17 Barrow Street may be its most haunted as well. The utterly charming former carriage house once belonged to Aaron Burr, and legend has it that his daughter Theodosia has haunted the building since her disappearance at sea in 1812. She was aboard the ship Patriot that disappeared into the Atlantic Ocean in December of that year, and her ghost is said to have returned to 17 Barrow Street to be with her father. Employees of the restaurant vouch for its haunting, with numerous accounts of paintings crashing to the floor, champagne glasses falling off empty tables, and apparitions descending the staircase. The restaurant even got a paranormal expert to survey the premises, and it was concluded that it was indeed haunted.

Morris-Jumel Mansion: Aaron Burr has a hand in the haunting of this 250-year old Washington Heights mansion as well. Supposedly the city’s oldest residence, the Morris-Jumel Mansion was one of George Washington’s Revolutionary War headquarters. In the 1800s, it became the home of socialite couple Eliza and Stephen Jumel, and Aaron Burr and Eliza began an affair. Soon after, Stephen died, although accounts of how he met his demise are varied. Some say he was thrown from his carriage as Eliza watched indifferently, and he died later from his injuries. A more grisly account states that he seemingly “fell” from a window onto a pitchfork; which is all the more suspect considering the couple married immediately thereafter. They divorced three years later, and in another bizarre twist to the macabre tale, Burr died on the day the divorce was finalized.

Afterwards, Eliza became mentally unhinged, and after her death in 1865, she was seen wandering the grounds of the mansion. A hundred years later, she supposedly terrorized a group of schoolchildren who were at the mansion on a field trip by very loudly quieting them.

St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery: The East Village church, now a converted playhouse, was once the chapel connected to colonialist Peter Stuyvesant’s farm on the Bowery (which is derived from the Dutch ‘bouwerij’, meaning farm). In 1644, Stuyvesant was struck by a cannonball, which caused him to lose his right leg. After he died in 1672, he was buried in a vault in the church, and from that point on, the church and the surrounding streets that once made up his farm are said to be haunted by a peg-legged ghost.

The Dakota: This infamous residential building on the Upper West Side is as legendary as it is luxurious. The notorious site of John Lennon’s murder in 1980, it was also where Rosemary’s Baby was filmed. Sightings of Lennon’s ghost have been reported ever since, along with a number of children haunting the corridors and rooms throughout the building.

The Octagon: When the former insane asylum was converted into a luxury rental building a decade ago, it opened up Roosevelt Island as a new neighborhood in the city. But according to Octagon residents and visitors of the island, the spirits of former patients still linger, and many think when the Roosevelt Island Tram broke down on its inaugural day in 2006, it was at the hands of angry ghosts exacting their revenge.

Algonquin Hotel: During the Roaring Twenties, literary figure Dorothy Parker and her contemporaries had daily lunches at the Midtown West hotel’s Rose Room, and the gathering came to be known as the Algonquin Round Table. Parker notoriously disliked children, and after her death in 1967, she is said to have haunted the Round Table Restaurant by taking aim at the children who visit. They routinely run crying from the room, and considering her scathing sense of humor and macabre wit, it seems in character that her ghost would terrorize the children who set foot in her coveted Algonquin Round Table space. 

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