Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right The most haunted places in NYC
White Horse Tavern
Photograph: Shutterstock/Brian L

The most haunted places in NYC

Learn what's lurking around town at the most haunted places in NYC—and then decide whether or not you want to go out

By Will Sabel Courtney, Jeremy Winograd, Peter Kirby, Michele Herrmann and Shaye Weaver
Advertising

In the city that never sleeps, there are haunted places in NYC whose inhabitants might keep you up at night or heading home early. From historic haunted houses to long-time taverns, the tenants at these venues might give off an eerie feeling or prompt a sudden urge to change your plans. Fact or fiction, these personas of paranormal activity will put you on high alert if you’re brave enough to pay a visit or take ghost tours. So keep your eyes wide open while reading about some of the spookiest places in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Halloween in NYC

Haunted places in NYC

Photograph: David Rosenzweig

1. Merchant’s House Museum

Attractions Historic buildings and sites Noho

Once owned by the Tredwell family, this historic Noho townhouse apparently seems to have one member still living here. It’s suspected that Gertrude Tredwell, the last Tredwell to occupy the house until her death in 1933, is keeping an eye on the home she grew up in. Since becoming one of the more under-the-radar museums three years later, strange sights, sounds and smells have been reported. Yet the staff doesn’t seem fazed, as ghost tours are offered here frequently.

Morris-Jumel Mansion
Morris-Jumel Mansion
Photograph: Courtesy Morris-Jumel Mansion

2. Morris-Jumel Mansion

Attractions Historic buildings and sites Washington Heights

Manhattan’s oldest remaining house has seen a lot of activity—from being George Washington’s temporary Revolutionary War HQ to the locations where Lin-Manuel Miranda’s busted out Hamilton rhymes. Then there’s one-time scandalous owner Eliza Bowen Jumel (who quickly married second hubby Aaron Burr), who might still be lurking around; similar stories involve sightings of a solider and a young girl. Find out more by going on one of the mansion’s paranormal investigation sessions.

Advertising
McCarren Park Pool
McCarren Park Pool
Photograph: Marielle Solan

3. McCarren Park Pool

Attractions Parks and gardens Greenpoint

Apparently, this public pool in Greenpoint is tied to folklore involving a small girl who may have drowned on-site. According to Paranormal NYC, this child has been seen roaming the area at night and screaming out for help. There are no public records of this alleged death, but EMF readings taken by this paranormal investigative group have found some sort of activity in water, such as a drop in temperature, and there have been photographs pointing out orbs being present. Whether or not it’s safe to be in the water is up for personal debate.

Donald Yip, Photograph: Donald Yip

4. The Ear Inn

Bars Dive bars West Village

One of the city’s oldest drinking establishments, this Soho landmark pub is said to have a long-term patron who likes to make his presence known, so to speak. Back in the day, sailors and longshoremen flocked here to get a drink; one of them hasn’t gone home just yet. A cheeky ghost named Mickey is said to have had a tragic ending: He was a sailor who got hit by a car in front of the bar and died, but he mainly makes himself known by flirting with the ladies at the bar.

Advertising
Photograph: Alan Melconian

5. One if by Land, Two if by Sea

Restaurants American West Village

Aaron Burr is back again: This uber-romantic restaurant in the West Village was once the former VP’s carriage house. He and his daughter, Theodosia, are presumed to be among the spirits causing the waitstaff some havoc. Apparently, champagne glasses have been broken and hung paintings have fallen off walls. Theodosia also has said to been seen on the staircase, and apparently has been swiping the earrings off unsuspecting diners. There’s also a lady in black who may have died from a broken neck resulting from falling down the stairs.

Kaufman Astoria Studios
Kaufman Astoria Studios
Photograph: Archer Lewis

6. The former Astor Room

Restaurants American Astoria

Hollywood legends may still be thriving at this former commissary within Kaufman Astoria Studios. The Astoria café was a hangout for 1920s matinee idol Rudolph Valentino, who might still be congregating where he dined while filming movies at the former Paramount Studios, not far from this place. And apparently, Valentino has also been spotted around old haunts in Los Angeles, making him quite the quintessential East Coast–West Coast hopper.

Advertising
White Horse Tavern
White Horse Tavern
Photograph: Shutterstock/Brian L

7. White Horse Tavern

Bars Pubs West Village

A wordsmith’s watering hole, this circa 1880 bar was quite the writer’s hangout in the early 1950s. Yet one regular took his status here too far. The story goes that poet Dylan Thomas literally drank himself to death by having one too many shots of whiskey and stumbled his way out onto the sidewalk (he later died at a hospital). It’s rumored that his ghost remains a patron at this establishment to this day, perhaps keeping tabs on his favorite table.

landmark tavern
landmark tavern
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

8. Landmark Tavern

Bars Pubs Hell's Kitchen

This waterfront Irish saloon dating back to 1868 has seen dockworkers and seamen come and go over time; it also had one of its floors operating as a Prohibition speakeasy. However, it’s apparent that there are some stragglers still lurking around. One of them is said to be the ghost of a Confederate Civil War veteran who was severely stabbed in a fight and crept up to the tavern’s second floor. (Supposedly he died in a bathtub.) Another wanderer is a young Irish girl who was said to have died from cholera or typhoid fever.

Advertising
The Octagon Roosevelt Island
The Octagon Roosevelt Island
Photograph: Shutterstock/Lee Sni

9. The Octagon on Roosevelt Island

Attractions Public spaces Roosevelt Island

Before being rebuilt as upscale high-rise, this rotunda has a spooky past as part of the New York City Lunatic Asylum from 1841 through 1894. The asylum was the subject of journalist Nellie Bly’s expose, Ten Days in a Mad-House, uncovered the mistreatment of its patients. While the presence of ghosts is up for debate, a New York Daily News article had a comment from a resident noting that his dog would stare at a corner and start barking as though something were there.

Mark Twain House of Death
Mark Twain House of Death
Photograph: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons/@Epicsunwarrior

10. House of Death

This Greenwich Village brownstone along West 10th Street has witnessed much sorrow, with reportedly many mysterious tenant deaths occurring here. According to Ephemeral New York, psychic Jan Bryant Bartell wrote about seeing former resident Mark Twain in her living room one night in her book, Spindrift: Spray from a Psychic Sea. Twain told her that his name was Clemens and that he had “a problem here I gotta settle,” and then he disappeared.

Advertising
Algonquin Hotel
Algonquin Hotel
Photograph: Shutterstock/Wangkun

11. Algonquin Hotel

Hotels Chain hotels Midtown West

While the management officially says no, it’s quite possible that the members of the Vicious Circle—who once met regularly for lunch at this hotel—have made their presence literally known. A Travel & Leisure article noted that during a major renovation, unexplained noises happened and a photograph of writer Dorothy Parker, a member of this inner cultural circle, fell off the wall. Maybe Dorothy misses hanging out with her hotel homies?

Amsterdam Theater
Amsterdam Theater
Photograph: Shutterstock

12. New Amsterdam Theatre

Theater Broadway Midtown West

While Aladdin has been gracing the main stage, this playhouse has another active performer within its wings: a onetime Ziegfeld Follies chorus girl named Olive Thomas. According to Playbill, Olive committed suicide in 1920 but has been making her theatrical presence known so much that her pictures were hung up at every entrance so that the cast and crew would greet her on their way in and out. Hopefully, she remains pleased by this kind gesture.

Advertising
Furman Hall NYU
Furman Hall NYU
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

13. 85 West 3rd Street

In 1845 and ’46, this location (now an NYU building) was the home of Edgar Allan Poe, who penned parts of his opus “The Raven” there. Only a single banister apparently remains from the original layout, and some have reported spotting Poe near it.

Billop Conference House
Billop Conference House
Photograph: Shutterstock/Felix L

14. Billop Conference House

In the late 1700s, British loyalist Christopher Billop, then the owner of this 1680 stone homestead, allegedly killed a female servant suspected of spying for the Patriots. Both victim and murderer are said to haunt the premises, along with the apparitions of patrolling redcoats.

Advertising
378150664
378150664
Photograph: Shutterstock/EarthScape ImageGraphy

15. The Dakota

It's one of the most famous apartment buildings in New York City—and possibly one of the most haunted. Residents have reported seeing the ghost of a young girl gallivanting around the hallways, while John Lennon claimed to have seen a figure he called the “Crying Lady Ghost” wandering through the building. And Lennon himself may still be floating around; Yoko Ono says she saw his spirit sitting at his piano, saying, “Don't be afraid. I am still with you.”

New York attractions
New York attractions
Wendy Connett

16. Washington Square Park

Attractions Historic buildings and sites Greenwich Village

This famed cultural hot spot was built over a mass burial ground, where as many as 20,000 bodies, including victims of the 19th-century yellow-fever epidemic, resided. And if Poltergeist taught us anything, it’s that you do not develop on top of the dead.

Advertising
St. Mark's Church on the Bowery
St. Mark's Church on the Bowery
Photograph: @cinapsefilms

17. St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery

Attractions Religious buildings and sites East Village

Locals claim this place of worship is a hotbed for ghosts, including that of Peter Stuyvesant, whose remains are buried in the churchyard. (He probably wants to make sure you haven’t forgotten about him since your second-grade unit on New Amsterdam ended.)

Chelsea Hotel
Chelsea Hotel
Photograph: Shutterstock

18. Hotel Chelsea

Hotels Chelsea

This artists’ hangout is well-known for providing lodging to rock stars and cultural celebrities over the years. And according to believers, a few residents (like Sid Vicious’s girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, who was found stabbed in the couple’s bathroom, and Dylan Thomas, who died at nearby St. Vincent’s Hospital) may have never checked out.

Advertising
COS Soho murder well
COS Soho murder well
Photograph: Shutterstock

19. Manhattan Murder Well

In 1799, the slain body of Gulielma Elmore Sands was discovered in a well just north of Spring Street. (Her suitor, Levi Weeks, was suspected of the crime but acquitted.) Rumor has it that the well remains intact in the basement of this downtown building, the only remnant of the grisly act—other than, perhaps, Sands’s ghost.

Astoria Park Hell Gate Bridge
Astoria Park Hell Gate Bridge
Photograph: Archer Lewis

20. Hell Gate Bridge

Attractions Bridges Queens

Is it safe to assume that any landmark dubbed “Hell Gate” is haunted? Not necessarily, but many urban legends and countless ghost stories about the bridge spanning the East River between Queens and Ward’s Island have certainly scared the bejesus out of New Yorkers for many years. According to Urban Ghosts, a grotesque ghost train allegedly crosses the bridge at night. And some have spotted a demonic train holding the souls of folks who lost their lives in the water below. Too spooky for us!

Advertising
Belasco Theater
Belasco Theater
Photograph: Shutterstock/Wangkun

21. Belasco Theatre

Theater Broadway Midtown West

This midtown landmark is not only notable for the talent it draws, but for the ghosts that never leave (gulp). Allegedly, owner David Belasco once lived in an apartment above the theatre with his right-hand lady (a.k.a. the Blue Lady). Belasco passed away in 1931, but his spirit (including the Blue Lady’s) still remains. Both can be seen onstage during performances, sitting in the audience and traveling in the elevator.

Recommended

    You may also like

      Advertising