The city that never sleeps has a few spirits who never rest. Taken into account New York City’s long and rich history, it’s almost expected that there’s going to be a few haunted spots. Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, these are the perfect places to visit if you’re looking for something spooky and in the Halloween spirit.
- Washington Square Park, East Village
These days overrun by NYU students, the park has a darker history than most can imagine. WSP may be the most haunted place in the entire city, given its tragic past. In the 1700’s, it was regularly used as a gallows for public executions. Then, as yellow fever raged through the city from 1793 to 1821, the city used Washington Square Park as a mass potter’s field for those who could not afford proper burials. Archaeologists regularly find human remains below the park, and its suspected that nearly 20,000 people lay in eternal rest under the park.
- Hotel Chelsea, Chelsea
Many famous musicians, writers, and artists took residence in the Hotel Chelsea to take advantage of cheap rent and a community of artists. However, there are a few free spirits who have not moved on. The Hotel Chelsea is where Nancy Spungen was murdered in 1978, supposedly by her boyfriend, Sex Pistols bassist, Sid Vicious. The famous Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, died in his room at the hotel after taking eighteen shots of whiskey. Witnesses have claimed to see Thomas’s spirit, as well as a young woman who weeps.
- Van Cortlandt House, The Bronx
The Van Cortlandt House is the oldest surviving building in The Bronx, built by enslaved people in 1748. The property is, unfortunately, haunted by tragedy. in 1778, a group of Mohican Native Americans who were allied with the young United States were hunted and killed by enemy British soldiers. The British authorities refused to let the bodies be buried, which upset both the townspeople and the relatives of the deceased. Witnesses also claim to have seen an apparition of a woman frantically rushing around the property. This is said to be a woman who buried gold on the property but died before she remembered where she hid it. Thus she wanders around the grounds, looking for her lost wealth.
- The Manhattan Well, SoHo
Located in the basement of the COS clothing store is a large, brick well. This site was where a the body of a young woman, Elma Sands, was found murdered. Her murderer was suspected to be her paramour, Levi Weeks. However, founding father Alexander Hamilton and co-counsel were able to defend Weeks in court, which led to his acquital. Because of this ruling, which many believe to be erroneous, Elma now haunts the well and surrounding cellar.
- Riverside Hospital, North Brother Island
OK, so you can’t visit this one, but it’s far too creepy to leave out of any spooky NYC listicle. Closed to the public and abandoned since 1963, Riverside Hospital has a nearly 100 year long history of disease, corruption, and intrigue. Located on North Brother Island, west of Riker’s Island, the hospital was built in 1885 to isolate and treat those with contagious diseases. Typhoid Mary, who infected 50 people in the city with tuberculosis, was quarantined here against her will. In fact, many of the people who were isolated at Riverside Hospital were not there willingly, and one could be forcibly hospitalized for anything from venereal diseases to heroin or opium addiction. The staff was reportedly cruel to the patients, and this exposure of corruption and cruelty lead the hospital to be closed in 1963.