This week, I took part in a ghost tour around Greenwich Village. The company offering the tour was Boroughs Of The Dead, a “tour company devoted to strange, dark, and macabre tours of New York City.” Our tour guide, Andrea Janes, is the founder and owner of Boroughs Of The Dead. Her knowledge of New York City history and her animated, creative storytelling made the whole experience one to remember.
The first stop on our tour was supposed to be St. Mark’s Church-In-The-Bowery. I say supposed to be because of course, I was late. When I got to the church, our group was nowhere to be found. After frantically looking for the location of the next stop, I rushed over. Though a bit late, we arrived at McSorley’s. With a history so deep and a list of former patrons including Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Harry Houdini, it’s unsurprising this is a favorite spot among fans of the occult. Inside the alehouse, you can find Houdini’s handcuffs connected to the bar rail and wishbones hanging above the bar. Supposedly, these bones were left by boys off to fight in the great war, to be picked up when they returned…
The Merchant House was built in 1932 and later sold to Seabury Tredwell. Tredwell and his family lived in the house until old age. The youngest daughter, Gertrude Tredwell, lived alone in the home well after her immediate family died. As the houses around her were demolished and turned into rooming houses, tenements, or commercial structures, Gertrude remained intent on holding on to the home. It is said that keepers of the museum, construction workers, and other guests complain of a female presence.
The Brown Building was donated to NYU in 1929, and in 2002, was incorporated into the Silver Center for Arts and Science. The building was also the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which caused the death of 146 Garment workers. The factory was located on the top three floors of the building. The owner’s negligence of fire safety together with the fire departments insufficient equipment led to this industrial disaster, the largest in the city’s history.
Walking down this quiet city block, you’d be unlikely to guess the building’s dark history. The building was built in the 1950s, and home to many notable historical figures. In 1937, the building was converted into a 10 apartment home. When actress Jan Bryant Bartell and her husband moved into the building, she immediately sensed a presence she described as a “monstrous moving shadow.” Unfortunately, the building has been home to real life demons. Joel Steinberg, an NYC attorney, was charged with beating his 6-year old daughter, Lisa, to death. Steinberg was reportedly even-tempered before moving into the “House of Death”, leading people to believe the house had an influence on him.
As a native New Yorker, it was interesting to hear some of New York’s rich history. The side of its history we were told fits the season. I really enjoyed the tour and urge anyone in NYC to try one for themselves. This could become your interesting thing for this weeks #onethingoneweek