NYC's eeriest eateries
Some restaurants evoke mental images of famous regulars. How can one not imagine George Plimpton while eating at Elaine’s or Dorothy Parker at the Algonquin Hotel? But some eateries actually have a history of haunting, where the undead rotate the tables in the dining room or nick the necklaces of those still living. Sit down to dinner at one of these New York establishments and you might be joined by an other-worldly guest.
Wear your glass jewels
Theodosia Burr Alston, the daughter of Thomas Jefferson’s Vice President, Aaron Burr, is said to haunt the fine-dining restaurant One If By Land, Two If By Sea (17 Barrow St., 212-255-8649). “She’s been know to snatch women’s jewelry,” said Phil Schoenberg, director of GhostsofNY.com, which leads haunted tours of the city. Alston once lived in the converted carriage house, where her soul supposedly returned after her disappearance in 1812 on a ship sailing for New York.
The ghost of Spring Street
At the Manhattan Bistro (129 Spring St., 212-966-3459) “there’s a very unhappy ghost named Juliana Elmore Sands,” Schoenberg said. “One of her relatives cursed a judge and the whole family came to unhappy ends.” Juliana was thrown down a well in what is now the basement of the bistro and is now know as the “ghost of Spring Street.” The ghost sometimes sends flatware flying across the dining room and swirling vapors have been seen in the kitchen.
The tell-tale bottles
Wine seems to go missing in the cellar at Il Buco (47 Bond St., 212-533-1932), Schoenberg said. “There are unexplained shortages in the bottles in which some wine is missing but the seals are intact,” he wrote in an email. Who’s the culprit? Legend has it that Edgar Allen Poe, who lived on the second floor of the building after his wife died in 1847, is the tippler who haunts this upscale Italian eatery.
The ghosts at The Waverly Inn (16 Bank St., 917-828-1154) are arsonists. “Fire instruments are often found outside in the garden or are moved from the fireplace when the doors and windows were all sealed,” said Joyce Gold, a history professor who leads Macabre Greenwich Village tours every year at Halloween. “Sometimes the lights swing, the lights go on and off, and a presence is felt by customers sitting down to dinner.” Many believe ghosts who haunt this former traveler’s inn, built in 1844, have started more than a few fires in the building, including a blaze in 1996. Visions of a man in a top hat have also been reported.
“Do not go gentle into that good night…”
Dylan Thomas is said to haunt the White Horse Tavern (567 Hudson St., 212-989-3956), where he drank 18 shots just before he died in 1953. “He liked to write in a room there, and he’s been known to move the table a little to accommodate his writing arm,” Gold said. The Tavern has a room devoted to the poet and “his presence is very strongly felt,” Gold added.
Bars serving real spirits
New York City pubs have a haunted history as well. Grab a pint with a ghost at one of these watering holes.
McSorley’s Old Ale House
15 East 7th St., 212-473-9148
Drunk patrons of McSorley’s supposedly get thrown on their asses by a ghost. “If you drink too much at McSorley’s, Houdini acts as the bouncer,” said Phil Schoenberg of GhostsofNY.com.
222 West 23nd St., 212-243 3700
Sid Vicious, who was charged with stabbing his girlfriend Nancy in a bathroom at the Hotel Chelsea, is said to haunt the bar here.
86 Bedford St., Closed since 2007, the former proprietress “counted the day’s receipts at a table in the front. Guests reported being very cold there,” said Joyce Gold of nyctours.com. Chumley’s is being rebuilt, but it remains to be seen whether the ghosts will be at the reopening.