26 October 2007

New York City ist heimgesucht

cool from Finding Dulcinea...

New York in autumn feels both festive and unsettled: something about the changing weather makes us curious about the cycle of life and death. It’s the perfect time to reflect upon all the feet that have walked these streets before us, and all of the eyes that have watched the city evolve. But are some of these eyes watching us still? If you’ve ever seen a shadow out of the corner of your eye, or felt a chill in the room, you may not be imagining things. You can scarcely walk a block in Manhattan without encountering a haunted landmark.

Washington Square Park - Let's start with one of the city's most popular spots; from beatniks to folk singers, from hippies to hipsters, it seems as if Washington Square Park has always been the preferred locale for the young and cool. But next time you take your Starbucks from the NYU dining hall out to a bench in the Square, imagine a body dangling above you. This hot spot in trendy Greenwich Village was once a gallows and execution ground. And you don't know just which trees were used for public hangings. One thing's for sure: on 19th-century Sunday mornings, New Yorkers watched the dead dangle ... and then buried them in the afternoons. Many a body still lies beneath the park's famous fountain and arch.And did we mention that, before the park was built in 1826, the Washington Square plot served as an American Indian burial ground? So the next time you’re “hanging” in Washington Square, recall those who hung there before you, and who might be lingering still. You can learn about this famous New York landmark on Project for Public Spaces. You'll get a sense of its bohemian beginnings and the current controversies surrounding its renovations and relationship with New York University.

Manhattan Bistro - Head to Soho's Manhattan Bistro, where, in addition to sampling fine French cuisine, you may encounter the ghost of Juliana Elmore Sands, a young woman murdered at the site in 1800. Legend has it she was tossed headlong down a well in the building's basement by an assailant believed to be her fiancé. Is that steam emanating from the kitchen a cloud from boiling water? Or is it the phantasm's ectoplasmic vapor? You be the judge.
One if by Land, Two if by Sea - Stop by the Village’s romantic eatery One if by Land, Two if by Sea. But before you begin making eyes at your date over strip steak and soufflé, consider this: in this former carriage house once owned and operated by Vice President Aaron Burr (who famously killed Alexander Hamilton in a pistol duel), there’s more than just love in the air. Burr and daughter, Theodosia (who was supposedly kidnapped by pirates), haunt patrons and staff; one maitre d’ quit after being shoved up and down the stairs every night by invisible hands, and numerous women claim to have had their earrings pulled off by Theodosia while sitting at the bar. The full story takes into account Theodosia’s failed trip from South Carolina to New York to visit her father, during which, it is said she was taken aboard a pirate ship and forced to walk the plank. Eventually, Theodosia’s ghost arrived at her father’s residence, where she and her dad remain in spooky tandem.

Bridge Café - If all this talk of death makes you long for a stiff drink, or perhaps a cup of coffee to clear your spooked head, visit the oldest food and drinking establishment in New York, the Bridge Café. You won't escape the ghosts, here, however: with so much history (it also used to be a brothel), the Bridge has had its fair share of opportunities for ghost stories to accumulate. Built in 1794, the Bridge Café was a stopping point for pirates, and also had one of the most famous bouncers in New York. Gallus Mag, an Englishwoman who stood more than six feet tall, was less than kind when throwing rowdy drunks out of the establishment; she'd drag an offender through the door with his ear in her teeth, and (depending on her mood) was known to bite off an ear or two and stash them in an old jar. Ms. Mag's ghost is said to still haunt the café today.

Read it the rest, here.

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