Five ways to celebrate Edgar Allan Poe's birthday
Tue Jan 18 2011
Everyone's favorite gothic poet would have turned 201-years-old tomorrow, marking more than two centuries of macabre American literature. And while Edgar Allan Poe's story mostly played out below the Mason-Dixon, the writer has a surprisingly hearty history in New York. Herewith, we round up the city's essential Poe viewing. A bit rusty on The Raven? No worries—the true Poe fanatics will be at his Baltimore gravesite, waiting to see whether the Poe Toaster shows his face.
(1) Poe Cottage and Poe Park
When NYU dismantled and moved Poe's former Manhattan residence on West 3rd Street, solely preserving the faade, this Bronx house became the last standing structure in which the poet once lived. Poe moved to the Bronx hoping that the country air would help his ailing 13-year-old wife—and first cousin—Virginia Clemm (yes, back then the Bronx was considered rural, and you could marry your underage kin). While the cottage is currently closed for restoration, you can pay a visit to the surrounding area, now known as Poe Park. 2460 Grand Concourse at E Kingsbridge Rd,Bronx (nycgovparks.org)
(2) "Edgar Allan Poe: The New York Years"
If meandering through nature won't do it for you, Bronx's Valentine-Varian House has opened its doors to Poe fans during the cottage's restoration with a comprehensive look at the writer's life in New York. 3266 Bainbridge Ave at E 208th St (718-881-8900, historichousetrust.org); Mon--Fri by appointment, Sat 10am--4pm, Sun 1pm--5pm; $5, students, children, seniors $3.
(3) ((audience)) Movie With Live Soundtrack: Edgar Allan Poe
This movie/music hybrid matches three Poe film adaptations, The Fall of the House of Usher (1928), Edgar Allan Poe (1909) and The Avenging Conscience (1914) with the experimental music of C. Spencer Yeh. Listen to Yeh's live soundtrack alongside these short, early horror films Sunday, February 5. Spectacle, 124 South 3rd St at Bedford Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (lrlx.wordpress.com). 9pm; $5.
(4) Edgar Allan Poe Greenwich Village Walking Tour
The Village's crooked streets and crevices are clearly home to a secret or two. Learn about the area's history, including some juicy Poe anecdotes at the site of a former residence. Meet at Washington Square Arch, Fifth Ave and Washington Sq. North (888-491-9824, unclesamnewyork.com). Mon, Fri, Sat 2pm; adults $25, children $20.
(5) Edgar's Caf
Show your appreciation for the iconic scribe at this Upper West Side eatery on the very same block where Poe once lived (he certainly indulged his real estate appetite). Try out the house-made tiramisu ($5.95) surrounded by ambience not unlike that in Poe's eerie works, complete with walls of cracked paint and a portrait of the morbid man himself. 255 W 84th St at Broadway (212-496-6126)