The Manhattan Project: Nightmare on 34th Street

Sarada Anne, MBA Class of 2017

I have been fascinated by horror and gore for as long as I can remember. It all started with my formative childhood years being spent (thanks to borderline irresponsible parenting) obsessively watching masterclass B movies by the Ramsay Brothers, whom I can only describe as Ed Wood meets Dario Argento meets Bollywood. It goes without saying that Halloween was an integral part of my American dream. I was in the middle of an intense debate in my head about which Romero zombie I should be for Halloween (my first non-celluloid one, ever!), when a classmate described to me how it isn’t exactly the innocent, cosplay holiday I thought it was all these years. Her colorful description notwithstanding, it crushed 20% of the aforementioned dream; I will not be celebrating my first Halloween and I have decided to deal with it by doling out some of my holiday cheer. So, here are a few places in the city to help you get your spook on:

Nevermore, evermore

85 West 3rd Street was home to Edgar Allen Poe for a few years in the 1840s and it is while living here that he published The Raven. Probably his most famous work, it is about a depressing conversation between a lovesick man and a talking raven, which could also be an honest description of a scenario at a Halloween party somewhere in the city. While the original building no longer exists, NYU’s Furman Hall, which now occupies the site, retained the facade of Poe’s former home. Make your way there after class on a midnight dreary someday, and you may just run into him.

House of Death

With a fond name like that, it clearly had to be on this list. 14 West 10th Street is apparently inhabited by Mark Twain, who lived here briefly in 1900, and 21 other otherworldly beings who like spending their time walking the hallways of this classic brownstone. Over the years, residents of the building have claimed to have seen the ghost of Mark Twain in a white suit, accompanied by a spectral cat and a woman in a flowing gown. Fair warning in the interest of productivity: do not Google ‘spectral cat’.

This building

This building, which once served as switchboard central for AT&T Long Lines, at 33 Thomas St. has no windows. None, whatsoever.

Morris-Jumel Mansion

This house museum in Washington Heights is home to my favorite ghost in the city. Eliza Jumel – whose spirit now haunts this mansion, if pesky children are to be believed – hustled her way into marrying rich. She convinced a young, naïve and rich Stephen Jumel that she was George Washington’s illegitimate daughter and faked terminal illness to get him to marry her as her dying wish. Predictably, she did not die after their wedding. When he did, she went on to marry the former Vice President, Aaron Burr and declared herself the ”Vice Queen of the United States” among Parisian social circles. Like I said, best ghost ever!

Get those Proton Packs out, avoid strangers in hockey masks and have yourselves a great time, everyone! In the week since I wrote the first paragraph, I’ve thought long and hard about what it means to be an alien in this great city and more importantly, how this holiday gives you the anonymity to knock a few items off your bucket list – be it taking your Extra Terrestrial friend out, undetected, for a night on the town or indulging in some friendly, clown-themed sororicide. So, I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to be Coraline for Halloween. Does anyone have a yellow raincoat I can borrow?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *