Halloween season is right around the corner, and we’re ready to get our spook on! Nothing pairs with fall quite like the eeriness of crisp air, darkness, and maybe even…ghosts? Sure there’s haunted houses in NYC, but what about the “normal” place around the city that give off that same feel? These 20 haunted places in and around New York City are great to check out and get yourself into the spooktacular spirit.
1. Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx
Woodlawn Cemetery is one of New York City’s largest cemeteries and is also a Natural Historic Landmark. Although the cemetery is located in the Bronx, it seems as if it’s located somewhere in the countryside. Spanning over 400 acres, the cemetery is forever home to quite a few famous people, including Miles Davis and Duke Ellington.
Where: 4199 Webster Ave, Bronx, NY
2. Washington Square Park, Greenwich Village
We know the idea of a city park being haunted because it was built on a burial ground sounds like something you might read on the back of a horror story book, but this is the real deal. City planners threw caution to the wind and built the recreation area on top of 20,000 dead bodies. New Yorkers now tell tales of ghostly goings on, like a spirit that watches silently in the Northeast corner.
3. Machpelah Cemetery, Queens
Machpelah Cemetery is located in Queens and is the final resting place of Harry Houdini. At the time of his burial, there were rumors that there was a secret compartment inside his grave. It’s yet to be proven…
There were also many seances that occurred at the grave after his death, and local police are known to still patrol the site on Halloween.
Where: 82-30 Cypress Hills St, Queens, NY
4. The Algonquin Hotel
Many say The Algonquin Hotel still reigns supreme as one of the spookiest hotels left in NYC, where legend has it that poet Dorothy Parker, performer Harpo Marx and playwright George Connell still posthumously hang out. Some have even said that a photo of Ms. Parker has fell off the wall and that children could hear her shushes for being too noisy.
Where: 59 W 44th St
5. White Horse Tavern, West Village
This bar was a regular haunt (pun intended) for poet Dylan Thomas, who one day decided it’d be worth seeing what would happen if he drank 18 shots of whiskey. Can you guess what happened? The ghost of Thomas is said to sit at his regular table where empty glasses appear from time to time.
Where: 567 Hudson St
6. House of Death, Greenwich Village
The “house of death” is one of the most famous haunted houses in New York City. Located on 14 West 10th Street, this brownstone is said to be haunted by at least 22 ghosts. The brownstone was also once home to the author Mark Twain and his ghost has been said to still wander throughout the stairwell of the home.
Where: 14 W 10th St
7. St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, East Village
Churches can be pretty spooky places at the best of times. So, a church with the spirit of a one-legged Dutchman is not somewhere we’re really psyched to go on a Sunday. The building rests on the burial ground (when will people learn?) of New Amsterdam governor Peter Stuyvesant, who is said to disrupt Sunday services by ringing bells, singing hymns in Dutch, and hearing the sound of his peg-leg walking throughout the church.
Where: 131 E 10th St
8. Morris Jumel-Mansion, Washington Heights
This house might have the most eclectic collection of ghouls, including a talking grandfather clock and a soldier who steps out of a painting like in Harry Potter! But by far the most spine-chilling tale is that of Eliza Jumel, who after being rumored to have murdered her first husband, died after divorcing her second husband, former vice-president Aaron Burr.
Most ghost stories hang on the testimony of one, perhaps not-so-reliable person, but a whole field trip of schoolchildren witnessed Jumel dressed in a violet gown appear and tell them all to be quiet. She apparently seemed delusional when she appeared, which is put down to the dementia she suffered in life.
Where: 65 Jumel Terrace
9. The Campbell Apartment
What was once the office of John W. Campbell now sits a luscious cocktail bar that serves great drinks and a unique ambiance. Passed down through his family from the 1920s-50s, legend has it is that well-dressed older couples sharing drinks is quite the popular presence. Since it’s nestled into Grand Central Station, you may never know who may travel through there…
Where: 15 Vanderbilt Ave
10. Kings Park Psychiatric Center, Long Island
Kings Park Psychiatric Facility on Long Island is actually a very disturbing example of what went on in psych wards years ago and provides a chilling Halloween experience for those that choose to check it out. The facility ran from 1885- 1996 where the remaining patients were then transferred to a new clinic. It’s been abandoned since then, making it one of New York’s spookiest spots.
Where: Nissequogue River State Park, 799 St Johnland Rd, Kings Park, NY
11. New Amsterdam Theatre, Midtown
The ghost of actress Olive Thomas is said to walk around this NYC theatre clutching the bottle of pills she overdosed on. Actors and stagehands at the Broadway theatre pay their respects to Olive by saying goodbye to a photo of her that hangs by the stage door. Why do they do this? Because Olive is known to have a bit of a temper, causing malfunctions in stage equipment and flirting with men before disappearing through a wall.
Where: 214 W 42nd St
12. Sleepy Hollow, Westchester
Everyone is familiar of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and that creepy headless horsemen. Well, just around an hour away from Grand Central on the MetroNorth is the town that plays home to the legend itself. Take a haunted hay ride, or immerse yourself in the world of Washington Irving by taking a walk around the town.
Where: Sleepy Hallow, NY
13. Brittany Hall, NYU
One of NYC’s most haunted places is actually an old hotel turned NYU dorm. Legend has it, an eight-year-old girl named Molly fell down an elevator shaft in 1929 and has been roaming the dorms ever since. People have seen antiquated chairs blocking doors, ghostly faces and heard mysterious knocking. One building manager recommends saying, “Don’t play with me, Molly” if you see her and everything will be fine. Yeah, like we’d hang around long enough.
Where: 55 E 10th St
14. The Dakota, Central Park West
Famously the place where former Beatle John Lennon was shot dead by Mark Chapman, the Dakota actually has a longer history of the paranormal. While Lennon was reportedly seen by Yoko Ono playing the piano, the musician himself reported seeing a crying lady in the building (but then again, he also said he was the “walrus coo coo ca choo”, so…). Others have spotted a little girl and an adult man with the face of a child. Yeeesh.
Where: 1 W 72nd St
15. Hotel Chelsea, Chelsea
The most famous ghosts at this establishment are Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. The punk rock couple were staying at the hotel when Spungen was found with a stab wound to the abdomen thought to have been the work of Vicious (who died of a heroin overdose shortly after). Another famous spook here is Dylan Thomas who died in the hotel after suffering alcohol poisoning at the nearby White Horse Tavern (remember?), making him one of the most prolific ghosts in NYC.
Where: 222 W 23rd St
15. One If by Land, Two If by Sea, West Village
This restaurant was once the carriage house of Alexander Hamilton and his daughter Theodosia, and their spirits still haunt the house. Staff members and diners alike have reported weird occurrences; lights flickering, patrons being shoved by spirits, and the earrings of women sitting at the bar repeatedly disappearing.
Where: 17 Barrow St
16. Blood Manor, Tribeca
This building, which is now home to one of the scariest haunted houses in New York City, has its own terrifying stories. Pioneering photographer Matthew Brady photographed some of the country’s most famous (and infamous) people there in the 1850s, along with war soldiers…and when he developed the film on the third floor, every photo came out with apparitions floating above the subject’s head, and those who were closer to the lens appeared with full black eyes. Over the years, other tenants of the building have said they could hear the faint snapping of a photograph, screaming from young men, and other hauntings, and some even resulted in mysterious deaths and accidents.
17. Billop Conference House, Staten Island
British loyalist Christopher Billop built this home back in the 1700s, and allegedly killed a female servant suspected of spying for the Patriots. Now, many say that both parties of the killing lurk around, as well as patrolling red coats from time to time.
Where: 7455 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island, NY
18. Merchant’s House Museum, NoHo
Merchant’s House Museum was once owned by the Tredwell family, which Gertrude Tredwell (the last Tredwell) occupied until her death in 1933. Now nearly 100 years later, legend says that she still pokes her nose around the premises from time to time. So much so that they even offer group ghost tours.
Where: 29 E 4th St
19. Belasco Theatre
Midtown’s Belasco Theatre isn’t just home to some quality entertainment, but also some ghostly visitors. Owner David Belasco and “The Blue Lady” not only used to live in 10-room duplex penthouse apartment above the theater, but many sources have claimed they’ve seen him on stage, watching afar from the balcony, and in the elevator.
Where: 111 W 44th S
20. Dr. Best House & Medical Museum, Upstate New York
If you’re really on the hunt for something spooky and want to get out of the city, the Dr. Best House & Medical Museum in Middleburgh is worth the trip. Located about three hours upstate, the Dr. Best House is a Victorian home and medical office that once served small town America during the Civil War. The home, however, was the place of death of the doctor’s son, young wife, and Dr. Best himself. Investigators have captured recordings of piano playing and distant voices. That in combination with the old medical equipment? Enough to keep you running.
Where: 1568 Clauverwie Rd, Middleburgh, NY